Reader Mail

Smile, Be Happy

Going with the Bush flow. Plus: Jamie and the Commissioners. Press questions. Garrisson Keillor reconsidered. Telling SLG it’s over. Plus much more.

4.16.04

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EAST MEETS WEST
Re: William Tucker's Call It a Democracy and the Hell With It and Richard Donley's letter (under "America's Burden") in Reader Mail's A Delicate Phase:

When we quote Kipling on the complexities of the Near East, as Tucker and letter writer, Richard Donley, did, we have to remember his great poem, "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," which he wrote in 1919."

Here is the last verse:

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of man --
There are only four things certain since social progress began --
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the fire,
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as water will wet us, as surely as fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

-- Bob Keiser
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

GOING WITH THE FLOW
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Keeping to Himself:

I think you hit it right on the head about Bush's ebb and flow. I hope we don't see too much ebb from now until the election. It's got to be constant, unremitting flow until then. In other words, pour it on.
-- Frank Mauran

I am an Australian living back in Melbourne after having spent 15 years in NYC. During my time there I became a very interested student of American politics. I got the tail end of the Reagan presidency and through Bush Jr. There are a few possible reasons why this president ebbs and flows as you put it. I think the major reason why he appears like this to you is that he has a unique job that is unlike any of the other presidents since the Second World War. The homeland could be attacked at any moment and the U.S. is essentially at war. I would say this guy is pretty busy executing the war and has no time for such other things like making out with interns under the office desk. The pressure this guy is under must be immense. We should all thank God he actually keeps regular hours for family time, otherwise he like most other people would not be able to take the unfolding strain .
-- Joe Cambria

I have another analogy for the President's seemingly cyclic engagement in the week to week political dog fight. And if you look at his track history one could conclude he uses the Rope-a-dope strategy. I think the President is a keen observer of the opposition's offense and after he reads their playbook he formulates his strategy. Examples abound: tax reductions, bucking the U.N. and then at the 11th hour returning the volley right into their teeth, opposing the Homeland Security department and then using it to beat the opposition (Democrats and their union bosses) silly (a beautiful score off of an interception), freezing out the enemies of the state (France, Germany, Russia, etc.) and then dividing them with the lure of booty in Iraq, resisting the 9/11 commission and then watching them implode in a partisan flop, putting up with "the worst economy in the history of our country" and now that issue vanishes like snow in springtime. Sometimes the opposition is so inept at handling the political football they cough it up without any effort on the President's part. In every one of these instances he has taken heat and then returned fire after the opposition has punched themselves out. Look at what happened to JFingK. For months he was savaging the President and then after a month of advertisements his lead vanished. Don't worry, be happy.
-- unsigned

In reading your column I realized how very true it is that the president seems to be quiet and somewhat disengaged at times.

After reading Karen Hughes book I think I understand what is happening in the time of quiet. He is planning, he is getting advice and he is thinking decisions through. He is not a man who leaps into the fray without some thought. While he is asking for advice he always makes his own decision and takes responsibility for each and every one of them.

I, also think he knows what is happening in these quiet times, he avoids the turmoil because it is unlikely he can change any of the ranting and raving of the media. He is aware of the things that are happening, but knows that Mr. Ashcroft has a memo that is going to blow the boats out of the water.

Time and time again the media and the liberals are running around full of good cheer and thinking, "we got him this time,", only to have him or something emerge that leaves them with egg on their face. I began noticing this way he has of just waiting for the exact right time to do something or have someone else say something, I would find myself writing e-mails to conservatives columnists, very angry and why are you not doing something! He can't do it all alone, he needs support, but the conservatives were getting owly with him as well, which made me madder!

It is about this time he makes a move, and we all say, about time! But in retrospect it was the right time, the Dems had done their happy dance and they would be sent to the chairs, a wallflower once again. They are so hungry to destroy him, not just beat him in the polls, but to destroy him they never seem to learn to wait for the music to start.

He is so much smarter than we know, and I trust his decisions, although he has made mistakes, they are mistakes of doing, not just talking on the television about how wonderful he is and how he is going to produce ten million jobs for the eight million people who need them. Hey, a few extra won't hurt, then the dems can say we need workers, the president has (A) sent them out of the country or (B) scared them out of the country with his wicked talk of religion.

Hang in there, he knows what he is doing, and he showed this last night. He presented his case for Iraq, he managed to not give the reporters an answer to their idiotic questions and they did not get ammunition for ads. I admire his courage in going into that room with the beasts of the beltway, slavering at the mouth to get him in any way they can! Funny, no-one even asked about the economy? Hmm.
-- Carole Graham

NEW QUESTIONS
Re: Jed Babbin's Jamie's Gotta Go and the Washington Prowler's Jamie Gorelick in the Hot Seat:

Jamie Gorelick should never have been there in the first place, but now AG Ashcroft has so rightly, deftly and publicly identified the quite likely key contributor to institutionalized communications inefficiency between the various security and law enforcement agencies, and all that followed thereafter, Ms Gorelick's continued role as a 9/11 Commissioner is unthinkable.

Her only continued association with this fast becoming Barnum & Bailey spectacular should be as a witness under oath.
-- Albert Ross
Oxford, North Carolina

Bush may have made a huge mistake at the press conference. He apparently assumed that he was going to field questions from real reporters. Instead, for 45 minutes, a group of hack-writers tossed out questions that sounded like a group of little children:

Are you sorry you pulled my pigtail?
Why do you treat me so bad?
Are you sorry you broke my doll?

Unfreaking believable!

How about these questions.

1. What are you going to do about protecting our borders?

2. What chance do you think you have to obtain permanent tax cuts?

3. What concrete steps have you taken to insure that the CIA and the FBI are communicating with each other?

4. Do you believe the economy has turned around and is heading in the right direction?

5. What are you doing to protect American jobs from being shipped overseas?

These people are not reporters, they are purveyors of the Democrat party-line. They wouldn't know a relevant question if it hit them between the eyes. Is it any wonder that more and more people are going to the Internet to get real news?
-- Mike Webster
Dallas, Texas

No one should be surprised at Ms. Gorelick's duplicity. During the Clinton-Lewinsky dustup I remember her waltzing around giving those redacted memos to the panel. During Ashcroft's testimony I kept visualizing how Ms. Gorelick would have redacted her memo if she had had the chance. It can't possibly be that there is only one memo from Madame la Farge.
-- Annette Cwik

An excerpt from the Gorelick memo reads:

"These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation."

The key here is "criminal investigation."

Clinton created the "wall" and Gorelick strengthened it. The real reason was to impede any investigation into Clinton scandals and crimes (Chinagate, Koreagate, illegal campaign financing... remember the LaBella memo?)

Clinton and Gorelick never imagined the problems it would impose with terrorism. It is coming back to bite them in a way their devious minds never imagined.

Now we need an aggressive journalist to investigate and win a Pulitzer.
-- David Ziarnowski
Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Keep up the good work on your reporting of this incompetent woman. We the people have to get her off this commission and out of government before she causes any more damage or before anyone else dies.
-- Trudy Abramson
New Orleans, Louisiana

I just finished reading your article entitled "Jamie Gorelick in the Hot Seat." I think she needs to testify and should be off the commission. If this is a "fact finding commission" then the author of the one most important contribution that led to losing 3,000 fellow Americans should be made to tell her fellow citizens why she wrote that memo and for what purpose was it written. In order words what were her intentions for the memo, which I understand to be unconstitutional and unnecessary at the time of writing. In fact it not cost only cost us American lives, it caused the successful prosecution of the terrorist. I WANT JAMIE GORELICK TO TESTIFY BEFORE THE 9-11 COMMISSION.

Your fellow citizen,
-- Christopher Baidoo

TOUGH GUY
Re: Tom Bethell's The Living Hell of Bill Moyers and "Moyers' Models" letters in Reader Mail's Jamie and Janet::

With regard to Tom Bethell's column on Bill Moyers and his contrasting of Moyers with Garrison Keillor, as in "The contrast with Garrison Keillor's 'Prairie Home Companion' struck me the other day. I listen to him, too. Keillor's willingness to dwell on our blessings is striking and perhaps the secret of his success":

I take it Bethell, as an enthusiastic fan of Keillor's, will endorse this statement of Keillor's back in the Summer of 2002:

"Face it: a nation that maintains a 72% approval rating on George W. Bush is a nation with a very loose grip on reality."

I'm happy to say that, like both Keillor and Moyers and a growing percentage of Americans, I myself have been able to maintain a fairly solid grip on reality. That's why, come November, I won't be voting for four more years of obfuscation and fearmongering.

Cheerfully yours,
-- Brendan McDaid
Austin, Texas

I have to admit that I am fascinated to read these various writers pontificating on what God can and cannot do. One guy says God can decide that two and two make five. Hell, we've had teachers in California who have been able to do that for years, not to mention legislators in Washington. While another guy says no, he can't, once he has decided that he is Good, that's it. Equally as fascinating is their absolute certainty.

I have to laugh, because so far not one of them has called me to learn the truth.
-- Gregg Calkins
La Fortuna, Costa Rica

SHUT CABINET
Re: Rich Renken's letter ("Up Against the Wall") in Reader Mail's Jamie and Janet:

Mr. Renken of Missouri is 100% correct in pointing out that "President Bush has placed some highly competent people at the top levels of his administration, and Mr. Ashcroft stands tall among them." He then opines that "It is frightening to imagine the damage to our society that a Kerry cabinet." I would submit that not a lot of imagination would be required -- all one need do is to consider the damage done by Bill Clinton's appointees. I submit as exhibit A one Janet Reno, presider over the fiascoes of Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Elian Gonzalez repatriation.

God help us if Kerry could pick any worse!
-- Wylie Merritt
Norman, OK

CLEAN LITTER
Re: Joseph Baum's letter (under "Reno Redux") in Reader Mail's Jamie and Janet:

Dear Mr. Baum: You stated that you become angry when reading the "Vast Liberal Media." What with all the information options we now have, they're really not all that big anymore. They're Half-Vast these days.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

LAST WORDS
Re: SLG's letter ("Term Limits Extension") in Reader Mail's Jamie and Janet:

Nothing proves a point more than someone's nerve getting hit! ;-)
-- Greg Barnard

SLG wrongly states that "The word 'choice' means exactly that -- and, again, my wife was Pro-Choice, and we/she chose to have our kids. Only a complete idiiot, zealot, or someone trying to rewrite/redefine the English language would suggest that 'pro-choice' means 'pro-abortion.'"

SLG needs a history lesson. He takes issue with the terms pro-choice and pro-life. So do I; however, for a different and the correct reason. When abortion was first legalized in 1973, people took the position of being either "pro-abortion" or "anti-abortion" -- pro-legalized abortion or anti-legalized abortion. Those against legalized abortion did not like the "anti" label, so they chose to call themselves "pro-life" in the hope that it would convey a more positive image. That was a mistake on their part. They should have kept the focus on the act of abortion. In response, and not to be outdone, the "pro-abortion" people chose to call themselves "pro-choice." That was a smart move for their image, although it is one of the most ridiculous and vague terms imaginable. The word means nothing and could mean everything at the same time. It has allowed people like SLG to make the ridiculous arguments he now does.

The fact is that one is either "pro-legalized abortion" or "anti-legalized abortion." That is the issue. The pro-lifers should not have worried about being called "anti" anything. They should have been proud to wear the label that stood against what they believe is an evil practice.

With regard to SLG's claim that it is anti-abortion supporters who attempt to rewrite and redefine the English language by making "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion" synonomous, that is false. It was not right-wing, anti-abortion, fundamentalist Christian zealots who redefined the English language to minimize everyone's wrongdoings. It was liberals and pro-abortion supporters who began calling "adultery" an "affair," and referring to "homosexuals" as "gays," and to "strip tease clubs/titty bars" as "gentlemen's clubs," and to "gambling" as "gaming," etc.

SLG's statement that "the word choice means exactly that" is so absurd. The word "choice" means nothing without more information to explain what it means. "Pro-choice" does mean "pro-legalized abortion" and there is no way around it. Most people understand that -- no matter how SLG would like to minimize the wrongness of that evil practice.
-- David Tomaselli

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