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Rope Burns

Debating the debate: Shawn under fire. Wlady and George ace the global test. Australia cheated. Plus much more.

10.15.04

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TURN DOWN THE NOISE
Re: Shawn Macomber's White Noise:

Great column, except I meet Guardsmen every day and some were eager to be here, are still in "high spirits" and are good, professional soldiers. And that's my observation as a Marine.
-- S. T. Allen
LtCol USMC
Camp Anaconda

Shawn was turning off the TV and preparing to go to bed at the end of his commentary on the debates. I hope he doesn't fall out of it on the wrong side like he apparently did yesterday. He sure seems to be angry, and showing it, Shawn, be of good cheer, 3 debates and they're out, 3 weeks and so are we.
-- Roger Ross

Last night I turned on the TV to do my civic duty and watch the debate. Just before it started I fell asleep. I woke up just after it finished. I had an hour and a half of deep dreamless sleep and I felt wonderful. We should have a debate every night.
-- Wolfgang

I am a regular reader of your web edition. I always find your articles interesting, informative, and original. Also, I have also come to expect your articles to be of the highest quality in their analysis and in their writing. Which is why I was perplexed at the fact that Shawn Macomber's "White Noise" made it past the editor's desk. The article, in its content, tone, and style is more characteristic of the childish rantings characteristic of college, or dare I say, even high school newspapers.

I must say, I found the debates, at times, to be riveting, if not always in their content, but for the political theater they often embody. Mr. Macomber insults the intelligence of everyone who found the debates interesting and helpful to making their decision. We all know the limitations of modern political campaigns and their attendant attempts to say as little as possible in sound bytes drawn from tightly constructed talking points based on material heavily vetted by polling techniques. To offer a childish screed in place of actual analysis of the problem is the product of a journalist not yet seasoned enough to offer careful analysis or even satiric commentary in a way that is not juvenile and petulant.

Editors, rein in Mr. Macomber before such further silliness discredits your excellent product.
-- Fr. Phillip W. De Vous
Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

Those of us who care about politics know that there is a Huge difference between these two candidates for president: One is truly religious, the other is religious when it pays to be religious. One is for less government (albeit still too much government), the other is for Big Government. One man is for right to bear arms, the other is for bare arms, if it's a good photo op. One is pro-life, the other is pro-murder of innocents, but believes life starts at conception and is still a good Catholic? One will take action to protect this country, without taking a United Nations litmus test first....the other, if president, will likely install a "batphone system" between the White House and France. One quietly did his National Guard service, the other came back from the war and knifed his fellow soldiers, giving aid and comfort to the enemy. One is looking to strengthen the military, one has consistently voted to weaken the military. One married his wife because he loved her deeply, the other married his wife because he loved her deeply lined pockets. One tells us what he thinks, the other tells us what he thinks we want to hear.

Shawn, there really is no reason for us who have picked our candidate, to suffer through watching the debates. So, do something else. I spent time with my young son, put him to bed, prayed to God for GW's re-election, and went to sleep. The next day I read the transcript and the pundits to get a feel for what happened -- no fuss, no muss. Try that next time, so you don't you're not so darn whiny. Debates are nothing more than a talking points dog and pony show-you should know that. The left see their guy the winner, the right theirs. In this case, thankfully the right is right....
-- RRd

IN THE ARENA
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Kerry on the Ropes:

I just read your article "Kerry on the Ropes". It is the funniest, most positive, to the point piece that I have read this election year. In the classic American Spectator way.

I am glad that Our President finally hit back, it is about time. I do remember one amazing comment by Kerry. The fact that he married up.... some would say more up than others. Sad. The President is talking about character, class, integrity and Kerry is talking about money.

Thank you again -- I needed that!
-- John Martin Sacrenty

Bob Schieffer was a disgrace as a moderator. He threw Kerry softball after softball and the Senator still stumbled. Here is my take.

Moderator: Senator Kerry; Do you have any cats?

Kerry: Yes Bob; and when I'm President I have a plan to save every stray kitten and rescue it from the cruel policies of this President where stray kittens are rounded up by John Ashcroft and Halliburton to be euthanized and ground into oil for his rich buddies down in Texas.

President: Stray cats are the responsibility of the ASPCA and are not a source of oil.

Moderator: President Bush; Why do you kill kittens and why don't they have flu shots?

President: Cats don't need flu shots and I've never been cruel to cats or any other animal for that matter.

Kerry: I have a plan where all cats will have flu shots. I was an altar boy and that's why I'll save kittens and protect a woman's court-bestowed right to choose the disposal of her fetus and adoption of a
cat.
-- Beto Ochoa
Austin, Texas

Great write up of "Kerry on the Ropes!"

Well written, understandable, and insightful -- and contradictory to about 100 of the liberal media who think Kerry won big time, ha ha.

The President is the one who will get the hearts and minds of the American people after his performance. He loves his wife and family, and Kerry could only low rate his wife by talking about his MOTHER!!! I bet Teresa was spitting nickels before she got into bed with Lerch last night!

Thanks again,
-- Dick Dawson

I had to laugh out loud when Kerry described how his mother on her deathbed received the sad news that her son meant to run for President. Pointing a finger at him, she intoned, "Integrity. Integrity. Integrity." He must have recently been exposed to a DVD of the movie, "Singing in the Rain," in which Gene Kelly defines for his playmates what is most important in showbiz, a straight faced intonation of the word, "Dignity. Dignity. Dignity." Kerry's fans must have been wishing that he had had the integrity and dignity to eschew his gratuitous remarks about Dick Cheney's daughter.
-- John G. Hubbell
Minnetonka, Minnesota

You and I saw the same debate. But, 62% of the population didn't watch it, so all they will go on is the media's take on who won. This is where their bias really hurts.

Pat Moynihan once said, "He who controls the past, controls the future," when talking about the political disposition of historians tainting their description of what happened.

Isn't this what we are faced with here? Networks and polls?
-- Steve Filipski
Dallas, Texas

After three debates I find Senator Kerry's plan for the future is to have plans. Unfortunately his proposals are contradicted by his 20 year performance in the Senate. Bush means what he says and has 3 1/2 years of positive performance to prove it. Kerry gets debate points. Bush gets my vote.
-- John L. Davis
Thorofare, New Jersey

PARSON KERRY
Re: George Neumayr's Senator Gasbag:

Regarding Senator Gasbag, it is surprising that no media figure has pointed out that Kerry is wrong to say that Catholic Church teaching on abortion (or stem cells or euthanasia, for that matter) is an article of faith and something he cannot impose on others. It is not. Catholic teaching is based on natural law or common human ethics, moral truths that any human could arrive at and all humans are required to live up to and promote.

On "The O'Reilly Factor," Fr. Richard McBrien cited Cardinal Ratzinger as saying that a person who voted for Kerry because he is pro-abortion would sin, but that a person who voted for Kerry with an overall consistent life purpose and values would not sin. Fr. Frank Pavone pointed out that the cardinal also said that abortion has a higher priority since, unlike war and capital punishment, no exceptions are allowed. Neither Fr. McBrien nor Fr. Pavone noted that Kerry himself stands condemned by Ratzinger's words because Kerry said he would only appoint a pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice, thus making promoting abortion the reason for his action.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

I think the senator should be called Senator Low Blow or Senator Dirty Pool for his remarks about the vice president's daughter. Just after the debate, his adviser Mary Beth Cahill said that Cheney's daughter Mary's sexual preferences were "fair game." Can anyone imagine the liberal/Democrat uproar if this situation were reversed?

Also after the debate, Lynn Cheney sent an e-mail to Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, in which she said of Kerry, in part, that she was "an indignant mother" about what the senator said and that "he is not a good man, he is not a good man" for that.

Of course, the senator will not apologize but will ignore or dismiss her comments.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

I, too, found myself completely dizzy after Kerry's preachifying about faith and works. And also found Kerry's answer to Bob Schieffer's question to the candidates about the strong women in their lives very telling. Anyone with half a brain realizes that the moderator was looking for how the character, personality and their relationship with said women had influenced them -- yet Kerry instantly thought of money.

I also noticed that within the first moments of the debate, Kerry managed to mention several of the "swing" states -- which may have been a good political move for all the idle promises he made, for if those "swing" voters in those "swing" states don't have a clue who they are voting for yet, a patronizing mention of their state on a national level is perhaps the kind of shallow trick that will sway them.
-- Cathy Thorpe
Columbus, Georgia

John Kerry is the biggest phony to seek the Presidency in the last 100 years. And I'm including Huey Long.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

LOSING AUSTRALIA
Re: Jeremy Lott's Kerry Loses Australia:

It's good to see some recognition of the significance of Australia in the current world war. But there is a worrisome lack of strategic vision in the U.S. media, even the sympathetic media, about this region and Australia's role. This victory may well result in America losing Australia if friendly Americans don't expand their vision.

Some of the points to appreciate are:

Well before Iraq, Australia was specifically targeted by Osama bin Laden for its successful intervention in East Timor. "The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores … and they landed on East Timor which is part of the Islamic world," (bin Laden, Video, November 2001). Our homeland and region are under direct threat. Consultation with a map and even superficial knowledge of the facts, makes it clear that this region has great strategic importance in this world war on terror, and Australia is the anchor of democracy in the hemisphere. Some jihadist maps include Australia as a province in the future regional caliphate.

By some accounts Australians were the first into Iraq with its SAS. It was one of only four initial military partners in the actual invasion --a point that seems to be generally forgotten. Australia had 2,000 troops engaged, and Poland, the fourth participant, sent 200. Australia undertook this despite its distant location in a very dangerous region with a extremely threatening Islamic terrorist threat and an increasing collection of failed or near-failed states.

Australia sits next to the world's largest Islamic country, and has suffered a number of major terrorist attacks -- Bali with almost 100 Australians killed, and its Indonesian embassy bombed Madrid-like before our election. In the war on terrorism, it has a responsibility in its own region, and it has carried out this major task with extraordinary skill -- perhaps more effective than any other effort in the world, including American actions following 9/11. Consider the success against Indonesian terrorists, including the effectiveness of the new forms of partnership with the Indonesian government.

Australia was very early on the ground in Afghanistan, and suffered perhaps the first coalition death in action.

Australia led the East Timor operation at great risk considering the hostility of an unstable neighbor with ten times the population. It involved years of occupation. This was the most dramatic example of international intervention leading to successful democratization until, hopefully, Afghanistan.

Australia has undertaken a wide range of diplomatic and active military initiatives in the Pacific region designed to save and shore up failed states. These are of major significance and show extraordinary finesse and success -- whether military intervention in the Solomons, police action in PNG, or funding and staffing anti-terrorist units in Indonesia. The Pacific region, with Australian leadership and assistance, may be moving towards a quasi-federalism. This model of complex pro-active and pre-emptive initiatives are effectively ignored when they may be models for successful action elsewhere.

The Australian military contributions to major efforts in the Mideast/Central Asia are substantial. But if we absorb our resources in garrison duties there, who's left to respond in this strategically crucial region? No one. So we go in with the sharp end, then following victory we substantially re-deploy back into our region. This makes eminent sense for Australia, the U.S., and anyone who has a broad view of the war we are waging. And given our size and location, it's the only rational use of military resources.

But these, and much more, are virtually overlooked even by a sympathetic journal such as yours. If Australia wasn't taking the initiative on these fronts, would the U.S. be in a position to respond effectively? I doubt it. Would any other country? No. Is any other country outside the U.S. other than Australia actually showing independent initiative (other than domestic anti-terrorism) in engaging in this war? Can't really think of an example. But if the absence of the Australian efforts resulted in deterioration of matters in this region, it would at least get American media attention.

Has anyone covered Prime Minister Howard's extensive interview on CNN International yesterday? He gave a ringing endorsement of Bush. Perhaps partial payback for the direct intervention into the Australian domestic election by the Kerry camp.

Yet the Bush administration has acted in an extraordinarily petty fashion in negotiating a free-trade deal with Australia, and now threatens to renege on the treaty in the name of American special interests. This is in many ways already a repudiation of this country's commitment, and coming a couple of days after the Australians' voting the Howard government back in -- is an almost perverse punishment for our support. The Free Trade Pact with Australia is of great strategic importance to both countries in locking-in the relationship. But the U.S. plays silly buggers for the most trivial domestic reasons -- and this coming from the supposed free-trade party.
-- George Bindon
Sydney, Australia

EXPANSION
Re: Lawrence Henry's Things a President Can't Say:

I am reading, with great interest, the Opinion Journal today, which includes:

"Lawrence Henry, an online columnist for The American Spectator, points to a reason why Bush's foreign-policy performance might have been weaker than his supporters would have liked: Because the president 'actually is in the game of world politics,' there are things he can't responsibly say."

It goes on with the examples of Iran and our "allies." Would that I could have articulated this as well. This email was all I could muster after the 10/8 debate and I'm so glad to see this concept get widespread press!!
-- Connie Lieder
Working hard for Bush in Minnesota

You say there are two possibilities about Kerry -- that he is a corrupt liar or that he's stupid.

There's a third possibility.

That he is a sucker. Which is the one I would vote for.

I think the Kerry really believes that when he rubs on the "John Kerry magic" to Chirac, et al, they will purr like kittens. IMHO, Kerry genuinely believes that Bush is lazy ignorant and stupid, without realizing that those three words describe not Bush, who HAS done his homework, but Kerry himself, who hasn't. After all, what need does Kerry have of homework? He already knows all the answers. And they all derive from the wonderfulness of John Kerry.

Kerry is incapable of understanding that France and the U.S. DON'T share the same objectives. The French want to advance France on the world stage. We think that era is over. They think it can be rebuilt. They know we have to take care of terrorism so they can free ride on that and try to make time with the Arabs by putting their thumb in our eye.

Kerry thinks it is Bush's fault that Iraq's neighbors are not on-board "because they share the same interest in a stable Iraq that we have." But, of course, that is the point. They DON'T share that interest. This is always the toughest problem in diplomacy -- when a country through obstinacy or selfishness refuses to see what is genuinely in its best interest.

Kerry thinks all that will change because of his own wonderfulness. He is worse than stupid. He is a sucker.
-- Greg Richards

SAFETY LAST
Re: Jim Barisano's letter ("Safe With Kerry") in Reader Mail's America's Soft Side:

Mr. Jim Barisano provides an interesting perspective. His notion of sovereignty is interesting. It is also national suicide. His and the Democrats' proposition is that we will be safer treating those who would kill us en masse at arms length. He and his fellow travelers contend that we are better off giving the terrorists what we think they want and only occasionally producing some legal paperwork to admonish them. (This sounds ominously like how Democrat ward bosses deal with organized crime.)

Please for give the note of sarcasm... but "ooh they are scared". Sir, you are a dangerously mistaken individual. The Islamofascists that we face will not rest, until we surrender, die, or submit (which means something religious to them). I hope Mr. Barisano will enjoy his fleeting safety, his children and grandchildren will remember him for something else.

On a personal note, there is no world-wide dial 911, Mr. Brisano. There is no where else to turn. We either defend ourselves by taking the battle to the enemy, in his back yard or he will most assuredly take it to ours. This is not a "virtual" phony war. 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001. They were doing nothing more than going to work. They were performing nothing more offensive than engaging in commerce. The losses on that day were greater than the losses at Pearl Harbor. We spent four years, 440,000 lives, and the equivalent of several nations' treasuries to protect the world, and ourselves in the massive war that ensued.

President Bush promised only that this fight was going to be long and hard. He promised that it was going to be conducted on many fronts, some seen, and many more in the shadows, never to be seen. He promised us a fight like we have never had before.

John Kerry promises to go back to September 10th; dithering, threatening, appeasing, talking, and taking punishment. How many more people have to die before mainstream Liberals (Democrats) get a clue? John Kerry will wait to be struck and then maybe consider striking back if he can have the UN draw up the appropriate arrest warrants. Where will the next blow be, and who gets their name engraved on a stone?

I leave you with two things to consider.

A man who cannot defend himself is pathetic. A man who may not defend himself is a slave. A man who will not defend himself is a parasite

Containment is to terrorists as a cardboard box is to a bed of glowing coals
-- John W. Schneider, III
Bristow, Virginia

NO WAY, JOSE
Re: Charlotte Erickson-Rempfer's letter ("Can't We Get Along?") in Reader Mail's Outlaw Nation and Fransje de Waard's letter in Reader Mail's The End Is Nigh:

Okay, fool us once shame on us. Fool us twice...

Dutch Lady and Charlotte Something-Else -- you made those up out of whole cloth, just to tweak your faithful readers. There aren't really people like that.

You're waving a red cape in front of us, and also supplying the bull.
-- Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

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