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If At First You Don’t Secede

Trying the Ferraro Doctrine. Plus: Burying Arafat. Aging Specter. Devolving Darwin. And much more.

11.14.04

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GOD BLESS TEXAS
Re: Lawrence Henry's Secession, Eh?:

Mr. Henry's article hit the nail right on the head. I would add one very important fact to his article. Where would the blues get their energy to run their private jets and limos? I hear it also gets very cold in the New England states.
-- Blake Kersh
New Mexico

While some of the points made by Lawrence Henry are valid -- especially regarding the breakdown of each county's voting record -- the one point he failed to hit upon is the massive subsidization of Red States by Blue States. Let's consider the fact that for every dollar the Midwest and northeast pay in taxes those regions average a $0.90 return for a net loss of $0.10 whereas the South and West pull in an average of $1.08 for a net gain of $0.08 for ever dollar they pay in federal taxes. Where would the Red States and rural voters be without such things as massive farm aid, subsidization of irrigation, and even subsidization of their phone services?

Honestly, I think Ferraro might be right that the Blue States would be better off on their own. And to answer where would they get their food -- they'd still get it from the red states, but it would be a whole lot cheaper without all that pork.
-- Devin Foley

I would love to see them just try to run one state with their Leftist principles gone wild. After financially raping the rich to pay for the walls to keep the rest from leaving, I hope that eventually some would learn that the government can not really buy anything any cheaper than individuals can buy it. The state of Tennessee continues to stagger under the load of a state operated health care system and even the Democrat governor has hinted that attempts at reform have failed. Walls might have helped us keep people who could not get insurance from out of state from swamping the system, but even walls would not prevent the final collapse under the weight of Leftist delusions.
-- Danny L. Newton
Cookeville, Tennessee

As a Central New Yorker, I've long prayed for NY City to secede. The blue states would run out of tax revenue in record time, given their socialist tendencies.

Furthermore, I chuckle, imagining what a blue army would look like, going up against the red states. General Barney Frank, anyone?
-- Bob Mitchell
Morrisville, New York

Thanks for pointing out to your readers that Geraldine Ferraro is an arrogant fool.

A few fine points:
1.) the issue of whether secession is legal has never been settled.

2.) Texas clearly has the legal right to secede (see a recent WSJ article on the topic), and

3.) Geraldine Ferraro is a wonderful example of how the Northeastern Liberals are amazingly ignorant of the rest of the country.

Just consider the state of Texas: 1.) several of the best high schools in the nation, 2.) The University of Texas at Austin (world class), 3.) Rice University (world class), 4.) NASA, 5.) Oil 6.) numerous military bases, and 7.) corporate headquarters for over 70 of the Fortune 500 in the Plano area alone. This list does not include the massive number of top quality sports teams all over the state of Texas.

Texas does not have the movie industry nor much of the Mainstream Media. Some of us, however, consider that a plus.

Then there's Florida: NASA, several major universities, great beaches, and great entertainment. How about North Carolina? I guess Duke, UNC, and the "research triangle" don't matter to Ms. Ferraro nor the world class golf. How about sparsely populated Arizona? Two Pac-10 universities, great astronomy, several major military bases, great golf courses, and the beauty of the Grand Canyon. New Mexico? Great skiing and Los Alamos.

Like most Liberals, they think NYC and its media and financial centers constitute the center of the universe. Arrogant fools.
-- Robin Brenner, Ph.D.
Dallas, Texas

Read the comments of Geraldine Ferraro concerning the Blue States seceding from the "Union" and how bad those of us in the Red States would have it.

As is typical, these Liberals have no clue! I am from Oklahoma and we would welcome such a move. The Blues can discover just how much energy costs in a free market. These metro areas will find out that everything comes to a halt when we have the energy resources and the infrastructure in place to provide it. The price would be more than they could bear and it would completely cripple them. Of course, we would enjoy doing it, too!!!
-- Steve Bump
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Mr. Henry's article was an interesting analysis of a frankly fanciful proposition put forward by some particularly poor sports on the left.

One thing that Mr. Henry did leave out (and I hate to sound threatening here) is that private gun ownership rests largely with the "red staters" whether they are in red states or, like me, behind the lines. The concept of the Barbra Streisand and Michael Moore brigades "taking" L.A. and N.Y., respectively, seems a bit laughable (particularly if you actually try to picture it).

If you do print this, please do refrain from using my name. In case the second "war" of secession actually comes, I would hate to my house picketed by a bunch of Sarah Brady clones screaming "TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!" or "NO BLOOD FOR OIL!" or whatever is currently in fashion amongst the fifth column types in this country.

Cheers and keep up the good work.
-- unsigned

Carole Simpson's recent embarrassing panel appearance included scare-mongering about the red-blue echoes of the Civil War map. Note that Carole Simpson had a bigger and inappropriately active role in the Bush-Clinton election than people noticed. At one of the debates, President George H.W. Bush, behind in the polls, decided to go on the attack as people said he had to. Debate moderator Carole had interviewed audience members before the show. As soon as Bush began to attack Clinton, she went to an audience member and asked if that person was sick and tired of attack politics, knowing that his answer would be negative. That ended Bush's attacks and ended his practical possibilities of election.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque Iowa

Ms. Ferraro is such an elitist she doesn't realize there is little of educational value in the large cities that actually made most of the blue states blue. Think of the public educational systems in Philadelphia, Camden, Trenton, Paterson, Newark, New York City, Bronx -- you get the point. I'm sure all are educational systems John Kerry and Geraldine would want their children and grandchildren to attend. She was a lightweight when she ran for office and remains so to this day.
-- Dan Mittelman
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

I guess the Democrats really don't have any new ideas. They can't believe that secession will work out better for them than it did in 1860, can they?
-- Paul Ritchie
Wakefield, Rhode Island

Let them leave but don't let them fly over the red states. It will be a no fly zone.
-- unsigned

ARARAT
Re: George Neumayr's Fundamentalist Outreach and Shawn Macomber's In the Life of One Good Man:

Definitely made MY day. Dead-Eye George demonstrates he's been honing his skills at the Jed Babbin Gun Club as evidenced by this ten-ringer: "What if they extended to Christianity the tolerant understanding they extend to Islam? Maybe from time to time the Democrats could refer to Christianity as a religion of peace."

I have this image of him leaning back from his keyboard, blowing smoke from the business end of a Colt Peacemaker and twirling it prior to a deft holster plant.
-- Doc Watson

Shawn Macomber's piece juxtaposing John Ritter, decent "Everyman," and Yasser Arafat, terrorist, provides an opportunity to comment on the impact of one element, indeed one single word, from the election that seems to be dreadfully missing from the post-election analyses. Senator Kerry's characterization of returning to a state where the occasional terrorist act could be seen as a "nuisance" did more to mobilize me than any other element of the campaign. The behavior of Arafat and his ilk prior to September 11, 2001 was NOT merely a nuisance; it was willful murder of innocents. That any serious candidate for the presidency could consider it anything less changed my whole outlook on getting involved in the campaign.

I live in a bright red county within an intensely blue state (See Lawrence Henry's excellent piece in today's selections.) We did not carry California for President Bush, but we made sure that the phones rang; the emails went out; the follow-up happened. Friends and family in other states were contacted. All were encouraged to do whatever it took to go to the polls. We'll never know just what was the impact because much of it is buried in the overall color blue. However, there were a bunch of down-ballot issues and candidates that got red votes from folks who otherwise might have stayed home.

Nuisance... I don't think so! And, I suspect a significant portion of 59 million of my fellow citizens don't think so either.
-- Mark Merritt
Amador County, California

You are darned right no murderers converged on John Ritter when he was born. His dad Tex would have sent them off to the big corral in the center of the earth if they tried.
-- Donald A. Holloway
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Re: Christopher Orlet's Looking in the Mirror:

Christopher Orlet's "Looking in the Mirror" reminded me of the story Irving Kristol used to tell of a friend at CCNY (my alma mater as well, incidentally) who belonged to a Marxist group in the 1930s. The friend would bring his fellow "intellectuals" home every Friday night for an engaging round of intense analysis of the finer points of Marxist theory and doctrine, while his mother, an uneducated immigrant, kept the food flowing. One night after everyone left she said to her son, "Your friends, what brilliant young people! Smart! Smart!" and then with a downward, dismissive wave of her palm, "Stupid!"

To that I would add that we Republicans also outpace them in terms of the difficulty and challenge of subjects studied. Let them flaunt their degrees in the likes of "critical queer studies." We'll just continue to study science, economics, engineering, and medicine, treat them when they're ill, build their bridges, and keep their homes warm.
-- Howard Hirsch
Dayton, Nevada

THE AMERICAN SPECTER
Re: Timothy P. Carney's Unfit for Command:

Mr. Carney correctly points out that the fight against Arlen Specter is not just about abortion. Specter has taken an iron pipe to the knees of many Republicans in his career. Why? Because he is not one of us..... He can spin his recent comments to a fare-thee-well, but his record speaks volumes.

In summary, he cannot be trusted with increased power and influence. He has betrayed us all.
Thank you.
-- Steve Lodahl

I'm glad somebody besides me was finally politically incorrect enough to add age to the list of reasons why Specter should not get the Judiciary Committee chair. I included Specter's age in any number of the emails I sent to Hugh Hewitt, other bloggers, and assorted traditional media outlets. I omitted overt reference to it in the emails I sent to Frist and other senators, but I skirted around it.

I was hopeful back in 1997 that Specter would see the handwriting on the wall, accept the fact that in one's late 60s one just cannot do what one did at an earlier age, and spare us the possibility of creeping Thurmondism. No such luck.

Then, this year, I was just astonished that the old codger would go for still more. I mean, there's just no way that somebody pushing the three-quarter century mark can carry a full courseload. No way. No how.

But that tells you so much about Specter: lack of self-awareness and the facts of life, insensitivity to the best interests of his constituents, and I guess a really sad lack of interest in wanting to spend the waning years of one's life on pursuits more pleasurable than the battles of politics.

Even more telling is his media blitz/charm offensive of the last week. In Specter's world, all the trouble he is causing to president, party and the country at large matter little compared to realizing his own ambition. Even the trouble he is causing himself and the negative legacy he is writing for himself matter little before the altar of his own ego.

A rather despicable character, and a truly dangerous man.
-- Charles R. Vail

EXIT STAGE DOOR RIGHT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Guess Who's Coming To Dinner:

I think you are actually too kind.

I suspect that Democrats don't really have much of a role in modern society. When you think about it, the Democrat Party is really an artifact of a mistake -- the Federal Reserve driving the country into the Great Depression. That shattered belief in the free market system which was closely identified with limited government of enumerated powers.

So we had a 50 year experiment in central planning - or central ER planning. Not, of course, socialism on the European scale or, heaven forbid, the Russian scale. But in terms of America, centralized organization of the country.

During the era of the bureaucratic corporation, which peaked in the 1950's/1960's, a lot of people believed that bureaucracies WERE the way to manage things, which gave prestige to government bureaucracies.

But, ultimately liberalism is based on an illusion -- two illusions, really: (1) there IS a free lunch; (b) you do not have to account for human self-interest when organizing society. Wrong on both counts.

I think it was Winston Churchill who said "there is a lot of ruin in a great country." I would paraphrase that as "it takes a long time to bankrupt a great country." We can now make a conjecture on just how long -- two generations. That is the length of time it has taken Social Security and its handmaiden, Medicare, to bankrupt the United States. No, I am not a doomsayer and I know that we will muddle our way out of this bankruptcy by welshing on our obligations -- raising taxes and cutting benefits. Still, the point stands.

So, what exactly IS the "Democratic program" at this point? Bureaucratized welfare destroys the moral fabric of the society to which it is directed. The black community has suffered the most from this, but it is starting to realize it. So, since you CAN'T generate something from nothing -- which is what Social Security originally offered -- what really are the Democrats FOR?

Answer: nothing. They are a historical accident. The big city machines may have been a necessary step in assimilating immigrants, but that does not seem to be the route that the new immigrants are using. Central direction of society, which the Great Depression seemed to call out a need for, has turned out to be a chimera.

To paraphrase Churchill again, what do "Democrat values" really amount to? Slavery, secession, and election theft. Slavery is gone -- the Republicans saw to that. Election theft is tougher with a mobilized Republican party. Only secession is left. And, lo and behold, the Dems seem to be thinking about giving it a rerun!!
-- Greg Richards

BLUER THAN BLUE
Re: Peter Hannaford's Blue States Blues:

What is it about living near water or a waterway that makes a voter blue?

Notice the blueness along the Mississippi and either coasts. Even in Tennessee, there's a blue area near the Land between the Lakes and the Tennessee River.

Could someone please explain?
-- A. Robinson
Lowell, Michigan

Peter Hannaford's excellent article puts an anemometer on the prevailing wind blowing from the pundits' puzzling over the election's entrails, and how it was "hoards of evangelical Christians... votes against gay marriage..." There is a missing counter argument: Oregon.

In the last election, one of Oregon's U.S. Senate seats was on the line. The Democrat won in a really massive landslide. The state went for Kerry/Edwards too. Yet again, four out of the five Oregon House Members are Democrats. It's been a liberal state since before I can remember (back to the 1960s).

Why then did 54% approve their "Marriage Definition" ballot proposition 36? Are we to now refer to Oregon as arch-conservative and part of "Jesusland"?

I think not. The proud liberals of Oregon would hate it if we did. I don't want to be mean, so I will resist the bigoted goal of painting everyone with the very broad brushes that are now standard issue in DNC paint by number kits.
-- Newt Love
Annapolis, Maryland

With respect to Delaware, Pete might want to take a closer look -- two out of three counties went for Dubya, thank God. That may not sound like much to all you yahoos whose states have counties bigger than all of DE, but it means a heckuva lot to those of us whose proudly-displayed Bush/Cheney signs went unmolested this season.

One other note: I find it interesting how the blue counties seem to follow major rivers and cluster along most of our coastlines (other than the aforementioned Kent and Sussex of DE, that is). There's got to be a nut job conspiracy theory waiting for somebody to play with.
-- Jeff Kocur
Milford, Delaware

Understanding the spirit of the blue county residents has been challenging, but it now strikes me that these Liberal Social Democrats (LSD) are simple rather than complex, and a lot like the rebellious teenage years of a person's growing up.

This is not uncommon because they are one and the same. Many times disrespectful, arrogant LSDs may be more completely described as disrespectful, arrogant youth. Also note the pandering of the LSD party towards the insipid and inane -- e.g. "Vote or Die," "Rock the Vote," etc.

Similarly, note how often the teen attempts to taunt their parent or grownups in general, for example, such as trying (too hard) to characterize their superiors as "stupid." Only a mother's or a father's love can generally forgive that sort of arrogance, with the no-need-for-words undeniable reality being that the parent is far and away the more complete and whole person than the unknowledgeable, out of line youth.

Inexperience and overconfidence are the flaws of youth, with the key underdevelopment being that while they may be old enough to see their parent's flaws, they are not mature enough to forgive and accept them -- even when their own survival might well depend on those "flaws."

The Peter Pan-ish LSDs would do well to remember that while the Republicans are indeed the grownups, they are not the LSDs blindly loving parents, and are quite capable of delivering a bluntly corrective public spanking -- or stronger if need be -- as amply demonstrated in the most recent election. Tolerance for the purity of the puerile has its limitations, and sometimes only tough love can provide the proper correction.

Telling one's teenager to "grow-up" is of course merely a placeholder thought for the fact that they will indeed one day grow up. But the fact remains that some of them don't. Not terribly intelligently, some of them end up in juvenile court and prison. It'll be telling to see whether the LSD party is capable of growing up, or if it is merely headed for dumb and dumber. The best they'll be able to hope for in the latter case is a jailhouse conversion to the faith of their choice while serving time as a long-term opposition party.
-- M. H.
Austin, Texas

STEALING M&M
Re: Shawn Macomber's Stolen Hope:

Shawn Macomber's article was right on the money. Stealing is stealing. Take a look at the back of Elvis Costello's new release. Next to the FBI copyright warning is a glib statement to the effect "It wasn't his idea." Now, Elvis is an intelligent man, and a great artist, but he just does not get it. If someone stole some of my drawings and sold them, or posted my cartoons on the internet without paying me for them, I wouldn't be concerned with "exposure" or "publicity", I'd be suing the S.O.B.
-- Rich O'Connor
New York City, New York

EVOLUTION NOW
Re: David Penrod's letter ("Theology 501") in Reader Mail's Essential Truths:

The interesting thing about Darwinism is its persistence. Like Marx, Darwin has inspired legions of devoted followers among people of energetic disposition and intellectual sloth, whose deepest commitment is not to science but to a primitive philosophical materialism. Like Freud, Darwin himself was gifted with a limpid prose style which still has the power to enflame the combustible imaginations of the half-educated. And of the smug: I have an image of Spencer Tracy pressing his copies of Darwin and the Bible together in the closing scene of the 1962 film version of Inherit the Wind.

Mr. Penrod writes with the passion and the brittle certainty either of a callow young man or of a bewhiskered old crank -- I don't know which, and I respond with some trepidation, at risk of being sucked into an intellectual black hole. Allow me a few brief jabs of fraternal correction, after which I'm outa here.

In counterpoint to one part of his rant (his misconceptions about evolutionary theory), Mr. Penrod may want to try George Sim Johnston's Did Darwin Get It Right? He may be surprised to learn that, long before Darwinian theory reached its current state of crisis among practicing scientists, it had been thoroughly refuted by philosophers and intellectual historians.

In counterpoint to the other part of his rant (his more serious, fideistic misconceptions about his own Catholic faith), Mr. Penrod should treat his brain stem to a slow reading of John Paul II's encyclical Fides et Ratio. The Holy Father himself seems to have a soft spot for the elegance of evolutionary theory, but he is devastating in his treatment of "preconceived opinions that claim to be based on science." Above all, he is eloquent on the traditional Church understanding of the interpenetration of faith and reason. Mr. Penrod's apparent notion that the two are separate is not Catholic.
-- John R. Dunlap
San Jose, California

What ignorance David Penrod shows when he states that evolution is a fact. If it is a fact, show me one, JUST ONE MISSING LINK. He cannot because there are NONE. As for his theory about bacteria evolving to become resistant to anti-biotics is also far off the mark. The CIA used to give their field agents small doses of sodium pentothal so they would build up resistance to this truth drug. Does that mean that they evolved too?
-- Steve Skeen

I read David Penrod's letter of 11/12/04 about George Neumayr's article, "Intellectuals Without Intellect," and was reminded of a recent statement made by a Chinese paleontologist on Darwin's theory of evolution. It went something like this: "In China one is forbidden to question government policies but one is entirely free to question the validity of the theory of evolution. In the West, one can freely question government policies but one is forbidden to question Darwin's theory of evolution." I read it recently in an article about evolution but I can't recall the publication.'
-- Robert Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

COLONEL DENMAN
Re: Richard Szathmary's letter ("November 11") in Reader Mail's Essential Truths:

May I suggest that Mr. Szathmary turn to Page 48 in this month's American Spectator magazine? Ben Stein has written a truly moving tribute to his late father-in-law, a decorated veteran of World War II and Vietnam.
-- David Heinekamp
Indianapolis, Indiana

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