Reader Mail

Tabin or Not Tabin

Reactions to the vice-presidential debates. Plus: Rutan straight up. Kerry’s comedy circle. Special bonus: Edwards-Cheney in drunken Nova Scotia.

10.7.04

IN SYNCH
Re: George Neumayr's John Grisham Edwards:

Without a doubt George Neumayr is my favorite contributor to The American Spectator. It's like he's in my head writing everything that I think down! Amazing! Just goes to show, great minds think alike. Keep up the great work.
-- C. Thigpen

Excellent analysis. Frequently maligned and underestimated Cheney finished the fight his boss did not show up for last week. Don't you wish for Cheney /Kerry debate?
-- Art Boozik
Boca Raton, Florida

BAD HAIR DAY
Re: Wlady Pleszczynski's Cheney Cleans Up:

Wlady broke John Tabin's nose, neck, and jaw. Wlady left John blabbering on the Vice Presidential debate assessment. John's futile list of "demonstrably false" examples will be remembered as much as John Kerry's closed NYC subway during the RNC convention but the point Cheney scored with his will be remembered. The Breck Girl could not counter punch the Senator Gone hit nor the absentee Senate attendance record.

It should not be mystifying to anybody after Tuesday night why Edwards has been relegated to the far end of the bench. His stump speech broke down months ago and all he does is yap about this and that while offering a plan without specifics.

Cheney might have looked angry (probably? hurt him with a lot of viewers?) at times, but Edwards looked like his feelings got hurt. Who would you want on your side?

In the other America John Edwards won the debate and John Babin wrote that the decisive victory would propel Kerry to the White House. But here in our America Edwards looked fake.

The top dog won the Spectator debate. As for the Vice Presidential debate the only thing left to be said is: John Edwards, GO TO YOUR ROOOOOOM!!
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

As a former Republican I find this article, and other articles in your magazine, hard to digest since they seem to espouse only one point of view, yours, which is the party's perspective, which I suppose is the only correct point of view on the planet. Now that would be funny in itself if you didn't write like such a pr--k. Maybe people would listen more if you wrote like a real journalist with real facts. Like most of the radical Republicans and Democrats today you dispense your opinions like all the other rubes who manipulate data to suit their own ideological needs and to hell with liberty and justice for all. What happened to the real and decent Republicans? Today most editors of publications are naive mental midgets who believe only in the orderly, God-filled universe. So did Hitler and so does the fictional character Hannibal Lector.
-- Bryan van Bergen
New Jersey

A number of conservative commentators, including yourself, have commented on the "dignity" Dick Cheney showed in the debate by waiving the remainder of his time on the issue of his daughter and gay marriage. You are reading something into it that is not there. I believe that Cheney did three things here:

1) articulated the rationale of the Gay Marriage Amendment as a response to runaway court activism; 2) professed his loyalty to George Bush and the Republican Party; 3) made it clear that he is not carrying any more water for the administration on this issue.

This was indeed a display of dignity, but not in the sense that you meant it.
-- Glen Hoffing

Your article today was brilliant and the best I've read thus far on the debate. I also was so impressed by our vice president and so happy to know he is on our side. I just don't understand why so many others are writing and saying different things about the debate last night??? I listen and can't believe we were all watching the same debate. At any rate, your article was fantastic, thank you for it.
-- Rachel Iannotti

Bravo! I have always thought Dick Cheney indispensable, as well. I could just see the wheels turning in John Edwards' head when Cheney commented about having no further political aspirations than to serve as Bush's Vice President.

With regard to the comments Edwards made about Cheney's daughter, I felt they were completely inappropriate and TACKY, not to mention transparently disingenuous.

I so wanted Cheney to come back with a response along the lines of: "How dare you speak in such an intimate manner about my family" - but -- as you maintain -- Cheney was totally dignified in his reply. He was able to put the Freshman Senator in his place with respect to his "undistinguished" record and attendance.

And to any voters who were hoping that Bush would dump Cheney in favor of John McCain -- just vote for the candidate that McCain endorses.
-- Cathy Thorpe
Columbus, Georgia

Interesting reading today on who won or lost last evenings debate, including the opinion that if anyone Edwards did. I can see both sides of the argument and it seems to me the argument will remain. Not so about last week's Bush/Kerry confrontation. But the Senator and the Vice President played well to their base it seems to me, and while each may have discharged a shot or two that came close to hitting them in their own foot it doesn't appear to me that either man could be considered a clear winner or loser by the elusive undecided voter. These men did their jobs last night and as a Bush/Cheney supporter I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the Vice President's evening in Ohio. The question remains however, "Do I have to watch Friday?"
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

The Democratic Party sent a metrosexual to do a man's job.
-- Mrs. John B. Jackson III (Janet)

THE RATHER IN OUR MIDST
Re: John Tabin's Cheney Meets His Match:

When I read the above title, I was reminded of being in the check out line at the grocery store, casually perusing the outrageous headlines of "venerable" magazines such as the National Enquirer or Star. Why, you ask? Because I had the same reaction: "What if that were true?" After reading that story, and the Democratic Party line it contained, I was wondering: has Mr. Tabin considered a job at CBS? The reality is, if anyone met his match last night it was the one with the nice hair, left naked on stage after a most effective rhetorical "undressing" by VP Cheney.
-- Bill Kearney
Knoxville, Tennessee

Mr. Tabin must have seen the Cheney/Edwards debate in a parallel universe. He states, "for another, it was at best a draw; if anyone won, it was Edwards." First, I don't see what all the fuss is over Edwards' looks -- he's got a serious overbite, and his speech impediment coupled with the Southern accent does not make him either particularly attractive, articulate or rocket-scientist-like in demeanor. Too many Halliburton mentions. The Bush administration hasn't given out any contracts to Halliburton that differ from what occurred during the Clinton administration. Edwards sounded like he was reading from the DNC website; no thought to answers, just talking points (and frequently off point). Kerry and Edwards need to stop talking about their "plan" for Iraq, "plan" for healthcare, "plan" for blah, blah, blah and begin to expound on exactly what the hell they are talking about. Edwards was completely weak on substance and Cheney defeated him soundly.
-- Ben Berry
Washington, D.C.

John Tabin's assertion that Edwards won the VP debate must have been written solely to provoke me into responding. Mr. Tabin could not be more wrong. Cheney won hands down. Not even close. Cheney was direct and in control, Edwards was at once condescending and immature. Cheney had facts, Edwards had only accusations.

Pick a metaphor, they're all accurate: Cheney the grownup, Edwards the loudmouth kid with no manners. Edwards the unctuous ambulance chaser, Cheney the sober judge. Cheney the mastiff, Edwards the toy poodle.

The cameras revealed all. When not speaking, Cheney was paying attention; when Edwards wasn't speaking, he was caught looking at Cheney with the raised-eyebrow disgusted expression that all liberals adopt when they are out of intellectual ammo. Edwards was more smarmy televangelist than clever lawyer. With his exaggerated folksy accent, couldn't you just hear him saying "Send me a donation for Jeeeeezuss"? Kerry is a pompous stiff, but Edwards is just a greasy parasite. No wonder the campaign is keeping him offstage.
-- Jim Bono
Richmond, Virginia

Poor Dick Cheney can't win a debate because he's not as charming as his opponent and his demeanor is somewhat dour. Sounds like John Tabin is either a professional debating judge or he didn't really have his heart in this one.
-- Jerome Brick
Beaver Dam, Arizona

Was the author of this article wearing the "little blue dress" on his date with Edwards? Cheney was much more professional than Edwards who came across as little more than a convenient opportunist conductor on the Kerry express. Scratch that, Cheney came across as Tyson while Edwards resembled Marvis Frazier.
-- James Poli

My tongue-in-cheek subject line for this email ["Attn: John Tabin -- Pearle Vision Center SPECIAL"] isn't too far off the mark -- if John Tabin thinks that John Edwards actually won the VP debate, I've got some great original "Mondale-Ferraro" bumper stickers I'd like to sell him, and if he acts now I'll throw in some genuine Dukakis-Bentsen Inaugural Ball tickets, never punched.

I happened to be behind enemy lines last night, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and watched the debate in a local bar, and as amazing as it must certainly sound, if the Canadians I was drinking with last night could vote next month, they would all be casting ballots for Bush-Cheney.

Examples of their comments:

"Cheney kicked pretty boy's ARSE!"

"If Kerry is elected and dies in office? Gawdhepus!"

"Edwards is prettier than Teresa!"

"That damn Cheney chewed Edwards a new rectal orifice" [medically correct terminology substituted for local, more common "street" terminology]

"Shut your piehole Edwards, this ain't the Peoples Court!"

"Flap your arms harder Edwards, maybe you'll get airborne!"

"Cheney can come to my house and drink all my beer!"

"If Cheney ain't running for President next time, we'll take him for PM!"

I'll take the sage observations of a typical Halifax bar (pub) over that of John Tabin, at least in this instance.
-- John Maxwell

Interesting that the Distinguished Gentleman from North Carolina, who made his fortune in medical malpractice litigation either does not know or could not answer coherently regarding AIDS. Ms. Ifill asked a seemingly loaded question about AIDS, and we were treated to a tortured, rambling diatribe on how lack of health insurance is causing widespread AIDS infection among young Black women. Strange, I thought AIDS was spread via unprotected sexual contact.
-- Greg Mercurio
Vacaville, California

John Tabin's reliance on CBS polling and spurious feelings in his purported analysis of the vice presidential debate makes one wonder if he is a RINO with an axe to grind against the Bush administration. On the other hand, perhaps "John Tabin" is Bill Burkett's pseudonym. The seizures would explain a lot.
-- Mike Young
Dallas, Texas

What debate were you watching? All attacks on the vp Edwards has
already been shown as making wrong statements, which you apparently were not able to see over your bias.

Thanks for nothing.
-- Randy Perry

Cheney and Edwards met at a prayer breakfast, right? Edwards was not a player in the Senate.
-- John Schuh

Cheney Meets His Match? At best it was a draw? If anyone won, it was Edwards?

Was Tabin on the moon last night? Maybe smoking something? If ever there was a spanking, Cheney delivered it to Edwards. "Senator, you'd be a lot more credible if you had a record." Did I hear anything like that from that slick used car salesman, Edwards? No. All I heard were sound bites from Senator Gone. I thought Kerry had his hand up the back of his shirt and was moving his lips.

Tabin, you're entitled to your opinion, but if you had been at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, you'd have probably consider that a draw also.
-- Bill Franklin
Atlanta, Georgia

What is with this guy? Even the most ardent "Bushies" like myself admit that our guy didn't do as good as Kerry in the first debate. Why makes Tabin think Edwards won? I guess this is another clear distinction between right and left -- moral integrity vs. lack thereof.
-- Jim Laria
Clermont, Florida

I'm sorry, but did John Tabin watch the same debate as the rest of us? Cheney was deft, adroit, low-key and made a persuasive, intelligent case for 4 more years of the current administration. Admittedly, the factcheck.com remark wasn't his finest hour, and I'd have liked for him to have been more forceful in his Halliburton defense (the corporation won bids on the same type and scope of contracts during the Clinton administration, the Veep hasn't profited from his previous ties since taking office, etc.), but all in all he was in charge.

Yes, Edwards was prettier, and sunnier. He also stayed on message reasonably well. That message, though, is so full of misrepresentations and untruths, it's hard to listen to him without either laughing, or becoming disgusted.

Surely Mr. Tabin realizes that it's difficult to debate a liar, even when he repeatedly uses the word truth, and especially when said debate is moderated by the liar's fellow traveler, as last night's was. I'm not expecting all you guys to be Republican cheerleaders, but maybe this writer should start submitting some material to the New Republic.
-- Tim Jones

I would dearly like to know what debate John Tabin watched last night. Even if style alone is the criteria Edwards lost by a huge margin. On substance Edwards was simply a no-show.
-- L. Algminas
Park Ridge, Illinois

I noticed not too many are mentioning Dick Cheney's home run on John Edward's Medicare Tax Dodge.

The look on his face was priceless when Cheney mentioned the half million + dollars Edwards got out of paying by using the S chapter dodge.
-- Ed Krach
Austin, Texas

I felt like I was watching our Vice President train a puppy.
-- unsigned

COME FLY WITH ME
Re: Reid Collins's Up, Up and Away:

Mr. Collins, it seems, sees no connection between today's commercial and private aircraft and the underpowered kite that, barely, flew at Kitty Hawk that blustery December day in 1903. Being a refugee from both CBS and CNN, I would expect the link between a technological infant's first crawl and the adult's record sprint to elude him.

Indeed, SpaceShipOne is much more kin to that prototype Wright Flyer than to the man-rated ammunition fired off by NASA. I think it's fair to say that a SpaceShipOne could never have been designed and built by any government agency. Imaging trying to sell to a Congressional committee on the idea of a craft that re-enters by folding up its tail and acting like a badminton shuttlecock.

I almost feel sorry for people like Mr. Collins. Last Monday the world experienced this generation's Wright brothers' first flight, Fulton's first shove away from the dock, the Montgolfier brothers' first balloon ascent, and he never noticed. In fifteen or twenty years, when Virgin Galactic is flying people in SpaceShipTwos and SpaceShipThrees to orbital hotels and transfer points to the Moon and Mars, I don't know where Mr. Collins will be. But, I do know where he won't be: among the stars.
-- John Jarrell
San Antonio, Texas

Aaah, Mr. Collins, all you say is true. It is but a bit more than a 10 year old with a fancy slingshot. But alas your comments lack the vision thing. Like beating the 4-minute mile, flying across the Atlantic, or crossing the sound barrier, most said they could not be done. But once having crossed the barrier multitudes followed in their footsteps. And so it is with Rutan and SpaceShip One. Do you have any doubt that Lockheed and Boeing have taken note and already have the computers cranking on the econometric models?

Rutan is already working on his second set of designs. Rutan's Scaled Composites is to Judo as NASA is to Boxing. The boxer has been using the brute force aero-braking approach to orbital reentry since the RedStone launches of the 60's. But that is not the only approach. I would hazard that Rutan will finesse his way back to earth like a judo master without the embedded costs of the expensive space jewels NASA has tossed around to date. All it takes is to get the speed down from the 17,000 mph to 1,000 mph before approaching the atmosphere and the equivalent of a SpaceShip One could reenter safely. But Rutan has solved one vexing problem with his flip wing design --control of the reentry without laser-like precision.

Have faith. When the tow vehicle is a pickup truck the cost of spaceflight is destined to come down to earth.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Your article on Rutan's space flight was pathetic. You know nothing about the subject. Try to write about subjects that you know a little bit of information on.
-- Jared Sherwood

COMEDY HOUR
Re: Shawn Macomber's A Stand-Up Guy:

I would not even compare John Kerry to a dead tall tree in the Louisiana Bayou. At least the tree is useful the wild life in the area. What is he good for but sucking the taxpayers money from his Senate paycheck.
-- unsigned

The only joke funnier than the reporting of the leftists at AP is Dems' big one-liner for 2004: Hanoi John for President! They're cracking me up. They cannot be serious!
-- Robert Byrne
Garden City, Kansas

Mr. Macomber notes that "Jim Lehrer didn't give either Kerry or Bush a chance to tell a knock-knock joke, or use a limerick. (Perhaps Kerry is opposed to limericks now that he's no longer Irish.)"

Perhaps Kerry avoided limericks because, being "a man from Nantucket" (or thereabouts), he didn't want to raise expectations.
-- CPK
Washington, D.C.

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