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The Specter Factor

The most friendless senator of them all -- unless you factor in John Benedict Arnold Kerry. Plus much more.

1.23.05

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FIGHTIN' ARLEN
Re: The Washington Prowler's Specter in New Trouble:

The GOP should be ashamed of itself for supporting this man for Senator in the last election. The photographs he has locked away must be very graphic.
-- Anthony Mastroserio
Princeton, New Jersey

It amazes me how smart Senators make the stupidest of mistakes. We dumb folks from the Red States know that if a fox tells you to leave the chicken house door open, because he says he will leave the chickens alone, don't believe him. Take Rick Santorum off the 2008 Presidential candidate list. He ain't smart.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

So Arlen Specter has already p*ssed off the Judiciary Committee Staff, the GOP Caucus and the White House? One doesn't know whether to laugh or scream at the report. On the one hand, Arlen Specter has made a career of p*ssing off the GOP and pandering to the unions and trial lawyers who fund his re-election campaigns. The President and most GOP voters, on the other hand, have placed a very high priority on ending judicial legislation by activist judges. So the elevation of Specter to Judiciary Chair, the ideal position from which to ambush the President's "strict construction" judicial nominees, was an astonishing political non sequitur, even by Washington standards. One result is that Rick Santorum and Bill Frist, to name just two of the Senate GOP's supposed best and brightest, now find Snarlin' Arlen in charge of their political futures. Just incredible. It does make you wonder if the GOP is ready to lead.
-- Jim Willhite
West Chester, Pennsylvania

How many times did K-Lo, and dozens of other conservative/libertarian pundits, warn Bush and Santorum and the other Republican senators that they would face this very thing? I know hindsight is 20-20, and that there was a very real worry that the Republicans would need every last Senate win (who knew there'd be 55 GOP senators?), so I'm not going to say I told you so re Toomey. But Frist and caucus need to punish Specter and punish him now! Get him off the Judiciary Committee. So what if he pulls a Jeffords. In his current position, he's capable of doing more lasting damage re shaping the judiciary than any other person in the Senate. Better he became a Democrat.

If Bush and Frist don't do everything they can to oust this guy, they deserve all the heartaches he'll cause them. The only problem with that is, the 61 million people who voted Bush into office deserve better.
-- Tim Jones
Cordova Tennessee

What happens when all of us, the working mopes of this country, are found to be not doing our job right or are falsely doing our job? We're axed after we receive a severe verbal throttling. Why is it that Arlen Specter, is going to walk on this outrageous action he has just taken?

And you know he will, because no one in that fetid place called D.C. will call him on it.

Bill Frist has something to hang his hat on, with respect to Specter, and now is the time to unload this worthless hunk of flesh.

Mr. Frist are you listening?: Specter is as Specter does and he's about as genuine as John Conyers or other members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Oust Specter now, before it's too late.
-- Colin McCauley
Leominster, Massachusetts

It's time for Specter to resign. I read the last Spectatorgaffe with disgust.
-- Thomas Saunders

SWEET DREAMS
Re: Lawrence Henry's Naps:

Thanks to Lawrence Henry for his piece on one of life's sweet habits.

Many of my friends are actors and musicians with no children or familial commitments. They have the free time and luxury to take naps at will. I have four kids and two jobs so I've missed out on many siestas during the past 11 years.

But, there are days when one of the kids is sick and I'll take the afternoon off to nurse them back to health. Downstairs in the family room, I'll wrap the two of us in a blanket and put on our favorite Arthur cartoon. Their cherub red cheeks, boogery noses and breathing through the mouth makes me feel like I'm Mother Teresa.

Here's to the hope that one of them has a sick classmate.

Nap on, brother.
-- Matt Mattheisen
Forest Lake, Minnesota

I also enjoy naps, but I no longer use that word. In this age where semantics rule, it sounds better and more active if I say I am going to "gather my strength."
-- Don Rogers

SEALED LIPS
Re: John Tabin's Exit Poll Cats:

One of the "errors" that apparently no one has addressed is "lying to the pollsters"! I haven't told a pollster the truth since 1976. I don't believe I am alone.
-- Steve Chaffins

SHRIMPING FROM CONTROVERSY
Re: Jed Babbin's Inaugural SGO:

I agree that the European Union shouldn't have told Thailand to buy six aircraft in order to avoid the tariff on shrimp, but the United States is hardly blameless as far as excessive tariffs are concerned.

The article in the Scotsman you are citing also mentions that U.S. tariff on Thai prawn is 97 percent. And this article at Reason magazine says that

Less than two weeks after a 40-foot wave flattened massive swaths of Southeast Asia, the United States slapped a tariff on millions of dollars worth of seafood imports from India and Thailand....

The American shrimpers have employed an oft-abused anti-dumping law and some dubious calculations to argue that foreign farmers are selling their shrimp below cost due to subsidies....

The US International Trade Commission has sided with the American shrimpers consistently, and between November 30 and January 6, the commission paved the way for duties ranging from 2.35 percent to a whopping 112.81 percent.

So, please climb off your high moral horse. This is just one of many examples of American heavyhandedness towards poor countries when it comes to trade. Then again, it doesn't excuse the European Commission's behavior either. At least there is reason to hope that this kind of thing will be less common in the future; both the EU and the US have recently given up their long-standing opposition to free trade in textiles, and have opened their borders for these products, which is a big deal for producers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It expect that it will be only a matter of time until trade barriers for the remaining products fall, and the leverage for arm twisting disappears.

Kind regards,
-- Ralf Goergens

Jed Babbin replies: Oh, please. You -- and other Euros -- see no blackmail in this. That is a moral corruption that defies description. We have tariffs, sure. But we don't ask nations to buy their way out of them.

UNTERM-LIMITED
Re: Paul M. Weyrich's Giants of Pygmies:

In regards to Senator Quentin Burdick, it is incorrect to state, "He retired after several Senate terms and I don't believe he ever made a speech." While I can not speak to his speech making abilities, he certainly did not retire after several Senate terms. After winning his seat in a special election in 1960, he was re-elected in 1964, 1970, 1976, 1982, and 1988. He died in office on September 8, 1992, and his wife was appointed to temporarily succeed him.

As an aside, it is due to his death that we still have Senator Kent Conrad in the Senate. Senator Conrad had decided not to run for re-election to his own seat in 1992. However, when Senator Burdick's seat came open in 1992, Senator Conrad ran in the special election to fill the unexpired term, won, and continues to be a member to this day.

Just thought a little correction was in order,
-- DC Republican

DRIVING BEN CRAZY
Re: Ben Stein's Special Deliverance:

Dearest Ben: As a part-time limo driver here in Kansas City, I assure you the LIMO drivers here all speak fluent English. Several are actually conservatives!!
-- Janis in Independence

What a wonderful column. Mr., Stein must be a very kind, wise, man. It's lovely to hear about people who don't take the good things of life for granted and who truly appreciate what is the best of our lives here in America.

Thank him for me.
-- Margaret Schlosser
Bethany Beach, Delaware

BENEDICT KERRY ARNOLD
Re: Patrick Hynes' Kerry's Logan Act:

Senator Kerry's continued meetings, negotiations, and discussions with foreign governments both before and after the election simply demonstrate why he's unfit as a leader, and why he would have been unfit to be President; he simply doesn't get the fact that we all have rules to live under, including United States senators. The Senate, or the Congress in general, is limited by the Constitution to the following roles in forging and executing the foreign policy of the U.S.: resolutions and policy statements, legislative pressure and/or directives, restrictions revolving around denial of funding, informal advice, and congressional oversight. None of these categories fits John Kerry's ongoing and inappropriate contacts with foreign governments, going all the way back to his Paris meetings with agents of the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War (a clear violation of the Logan Act).

I can't believe that this is a sin of ignorance on his part; surely, at some point in the past thirty-plus years, someone somewhere discussed the meaning and the consequences of the Logan Act to Kerry, and his proper role in government as a Senator and as defined by the Constitution. I'm forced to conclude that he simply doesn't believe that that rule applies to him, and people like that are dangerous. If I were President Bush, I would call Senator Kerry to the White House and explain to him in clear, simple terms that any further inappropriate contacts with foreign powers or persons will result in the full weight of the White House being brought to bear in having Senator Kerry charged and prosecuted under the Logan Act. The President, the State Department, and the Executive Branch conducts the operation of foreign policy in this country; not anyone else.

If Senator Kerry wants to become a diplomat, let him resign from the Senate and apply to be an officially-recognized agent of the United States, operating under the direction and with the full knowledge of the Executive Branch. If he's unwilling to resign, then he needs to be called to task for breaking the law as any Republican member of Congress would be in this situation, and dealt with in an appropriate way.

As a private citizen, I have no interest in what foreign leaders are saying to or through John Kerry, because whatever they have to say is being filtered through their and his own preconceived notions and perceptions; none of which I place any value in. If foreign governments don't like the way U.S. foreign policy is being carried out, then I would say to them to just sit tight for the next four years. As for John Kerry, and any other person who speaks out of turn or without the backing of the Executive Branch, the words of a famous wrestler come to mind:

"Know your role, and shut your mouth!!!"
-- Bill P.
Chicago, Illinois

Doesn't this man know that he is causing the deaths of Americans and Iraqis, just as the anti-war movement surely caused the loss of many lives during the Vietnam war? We really defeated the Tet offensive, and the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese had shot their wad. But our press and demonstrators made it appear as a defeat for us. This gave the enemy hope to carry on, because they knew American public opinion was being swayed by these groups to end the war in their favor. As anyone knows this resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands-or over a million people after the war's end. Doesn't Mr. Kerry have enough blood on his hands? He admits to shooting a fleeing Vietnamese civilian in the back -- yet we are court-martialing people for not torturing but making a laughing stock of terrorist prisoners, and a marine who face to face shot a man he thought was going to attack him. This world is going crazy -- and millions voted for him! The terrorists in Iraq alone can never win the war, but with the help of the John Kerrys of this world they can.
-- Frank Dollinger
Channahon, Illinois

SUMMERS' TIME
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Unthought Through:

Like the Dixie Chicks and Tim Robbins, Mr. Summers is free to say what ever he wants. He can not, however, complain about or control the consumer reaction to that speech any more than the entertainers could. Even though it may cost him respect, career advancement and/or money, because it will not lead to him being thrown in jail or tortured, it is not an infringement of his speech.

Speaking what you believe to be the truth against the views of your audience and the world at large is meaningless if it costs nothing. He was free to speak, his audience was free to react with their own speech, equally free. Right or left, angel or idiot, the system is free when it works for everybody the same.
-- Mont D. Law

Thank you, once again, Mr. Tyrrell, for stating the obvious in such an entertaining manner. No one, or course, writes like Mr. Wm. F. Buckley, but at times you just shine.

It has always intrigued me that these progressives (and I realize that you're using their own euphemism, since even to most of them, the words liberal and socialist are to be avoided) continue to insist that they, and only they, know the truth. And that they, and only they, should be able to voice it. In the small, pitiful progressive universe, discussion is only allowed when all participants hew to accepted viewpoints. Any disagreeable speech is to be shouted down or ignored. Any campus newspapers daring to print non-progressive ideas are to be stolen or destroyed.

And the rest of us can only pray (quietly, unobtrusively, and certainly not in a public forum) that your last comment is true that, "The First Amendment will outlast them all. They have seen their last ascendancy." Thank you, Mr. Tyrrell. Keep writing.
-- Tim Jones
Cordova, Tennessee

It's interesting the (Harvard's) President Summers' comments made Professor Hopkins physically ill.

I can imagine a man getting angry if he strongly opposed statements made by another person, but not physically ill. Could this be due to a physical difference between men and women?
-- Ken Hoppe

DAN SPAM
Re: Reid Collins' My Fair Leslie:

Obviously the CBS folks don't realize the gravamen of what the Rathers debacle has created. A group of older voters have not diminished their distaste for any news with CBS attached to it. Moonves should sever all (I REPEAT ALL) connections with Rather, including his staying on as part of the "Sixty Minutes" show. There are very few TV faces that inspire profanity from myself any time they appear on screen.
-- unsigned

WORK STOPPAGE
Re: Christopher Orlet's A Load of Rubbish:

Sounds like they just gave the janitors an excuse for not picking up the trash.
-- Gordon Paravano
Sedona, Arizona

PROBLEM FIXER
The typeface you are using on the redesigned website is much too small. Is there something you can do to enlarge it?
-- Barry Cassidy

The Editor replies: Done.

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