Reader Mail

Meet the Depressed

Jed Babbin and the President in a record turnout. Plus: Toilet training. Is there hope for conservatives? And more.

2.9.04

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PRESIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL
Re: Jed Babbin's Dubya's SGO:

Are you crazy, did you watch the same show I did? Tim Russert was BRUTAL on George Bush. I think Bush did pretty well. It always amazes me how republicans eat there own. Hope you enjoyed your meal. I will remember not to read your stupid articles in the future. Sincerely, a former reader,
-- Mary Crowder

I devoutly hope -- nay, I pray, fervently -- that someone in the White House has the good sense to get Jed Babbin's piece in front of the President and see that he reads it. One finds oneself wishing that Babbin occupied a seat of influence in this administration. He has hit several nails squarely on their heads. Bush looks weak, vulnerable; he seems almost on the verge of saying the whole Iraq operation was a mistake. We know that it wasn't, and that he doesn't believe that it was, but he must re-demonstrate purposeful conviction, must reassure the American people, convince them again that his doctrine of preemption was well thought out and makes sense, which it was and does. We need a strong leader; we need the President to be Churchillian again, as he was when he told us what we were going to do about terrorism, and explicitly about Saddam Hussein. We need to see and hear him dismiss the charges and attacks of his political opponents for what they are, blatant rubbish. As Babbin points out, the President and the nation are well served by Rumsfeld, who is strong and lays it on the line; Powell and Tenet are weak. The President can't count on them to sell his case.

Babbin is right on, too, in his additional arguments, for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage; abolishing, instead of pumping up, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts; and doing something positive and dramatic to rectify the outrageous way our retired disabled military personnel are treated -- it happens in no other department of government. If I were one of the latter I wouldn't be in any hurry to reelect this Administration.
-- John G. Hubbell
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thanks. Every time I read articles such as yours, I become even more liberal. And even more determined to defeat the likes of your moronic, gutless, papa's boy puppet of a leader.
-- Rita Cormulley

I just read your piece on President Bush. Simply the finest editorial I have read in my 39 years of life! Your compassion for the President and pointed advice truly raised the hair on the back of my neck. I'm uncertain if you ever served in the military, but you would have made a terrific commander.

Best of luck to you sir.
-- Steven J. Greer, CSM USA (Ret)

What do want, for gosh sakes? Bush said at least five times it was right to go into Iraq -- and for the right reasons -- the big risk is where are they (WMD'S)? I thought Bush did a great job. You can spit a thousand hairs and still reach the same conclusion: HE HAD THE INFORMATION AT THE TIME THAT HE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT. TIME ONLY CHANGES THE DATA. AS WITH ANYTHING IN LIFE ONE CAN ONLY MAKE GOOD DECISIONS NOT PERFECT DECISIONS. Those who are looking for perfect will never make a decision. THANK GOD HE MADE A DECISION. I DREAD THE DAY WHEN A PRESIDENT WAITS FOR THE PERFECT INFORMATION. REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR.
-- Michael Elliott

Bravo Mr. Babbin! Wish there was some way of assuring that our president gets to read your piece. I still believe Mr. Bush to be a good principled man and believe he is the kind of leader we must have for the next four years. But I think, like you, he's lost confidence in himself. I suspect he's somewhat lost "himself" by having so much disparate advice thrown at him. Like: "Throw the liberals a few bones and maybe some will vote for you," and "Americans are against the war now so start back peddling and softening your message." And " cultivate the liberals, aliens and seniors by proposing liberal policy. " STOP IT. The conservative base elected you as a conservative and we'll do it again if we can trust you to represent us!
--Amanda Pearce

Yes, Bush has a leftist pork laden budget. The NEA, PBS, so on and so forth. He has refused to support the militred. More importantly, he has continued to refuse to defend the borders from illegal immigration. All of these are leftist acts that have not endeared him to his base. Unless he repudiates this trash and actually becomes a conservative, there will be nothing to conserve.

Why did we elect a Republican, indeed!
-- Richard L. Hardison
Stockport, Ohio

After reading Jed Babbin's piece this morning, all I can say is at least he got this much right: "Mr. President, your performance on Meet the Press on Sunday was simply awful."

Otherwise it's time for Mr. Babbin and all Bush apologists to admit that their guy is simply not fit to lead and his policy of pre-emptive military action has not only failed to protect us from terrorism but has ruined our previous, mostly cordial relations with the free countries of the world.

And by the way, the only reason the UN is failing, Mr. Babbin, is because of the Bush administration's arrogant dismissal of the need for international consensus in making foreign policy.
-- Libby Spencer
Northampton, Massachusetts

Other than his assertion that Dubya's Meet the Press performance was a disaster, Babbin's article is drivel. I wonder what his schedule for pre-eminent attacks is, and in what order. Guys like him foster hatred and the elimination of diplomacy as a sane means of securing our safety and security, and when that doesn't work our government does what it says it will do, and seek out and destroy those responsible for attacking us (like bin Laden) instead of creating some mythical danger as was (is) the case with Saddam and Iraq.
-- William Stillman

I read your column regarding yesterday's Meet the Press interview with interest. I agree that George W. Bush is basically a good man. Unfortunately, he is also a simpleton, and the puppet of Cheney, Rove, Wolfsburger [sic], and Rumsfeld. While these men are certainly no simpletons, I question their motives. The only thing more frightening to me than having a simpleton as leader of the free world is to have that simpleton unaware of his tremendous limitations. Why is all of this so reminiscent of "The Emperor's New Clothes"?
-- Janice McLean

You got it right on your issue of concurrent receipt. I have not been able to believe our President would turn his back on us. I'm a Republican. I don't like to let a single issue swing my vote. George Bush is tempting me. Is he so occupied with Iraq that he can't see a national community of millions he and other Republicans have been supported by ... disaffected by his incongruousness in this respect? Florida would absolutely never have gone Republican if those of us who live here knew he was going to turn his back on us. We couldn't stomach Gore, but we could have sat home or written our name-in candidates.

John Kerry isn't even the best of this sad lot and I won't vote for him, but if the Prez doesn't shape up along the line of many of your straight-talk suggestions, he better revamp his résumé.
-- John C. MacKercher
Captain, U.S. Navy (ret.) and 100% totally and permanently disabled by combat and service connected disabilities

Your article on the president having lost confidence is not spot on. How do you know this? From one interview? Really the first one in his campaign? Wow, you are good. I saw a man who was doing his best to defend his position and who should not have to be. It is an example of the usual "I am going to vote for the president, but, column." I have read many of them recently. They go on to bash him for whatever mistake he made the day before or a year ago, or will tomorrow.

The country knew when they voted for him for president that he is not a glib speaker in some situations, If you want to go on the Russert program and defend being called a "deserter," fill your boots. The liberals are organized and working very hard to get rid of Bush as they say constantly and they may succeed, and if that is the result of this campaign, better hide because any smidgen of feeling secure and safe in America will be gone....
-- Carole Graham

Tough medicine but dead nuts accurate. Many of Jed's words I'd thought to myself; some were new and startling but again: dead nuts.

A very smart guy I know wrote recently: "The only person who can beat GWB is GWB + Karl Rove." I'm beginning to see the wisdom in this.

Dubya has lost his confidence. His ears are no doubt being filled with election/political hissing all day long. He needs to rediscover his moorings, and if/when he does, the election will be his.

Duh! question of the day: what does SGO stand for. I thunk and thunk on it and came up empty. I'm sure it's so obvious that I'll be embarrassed but I need to know!

Thanks to Jed Babbin for this tremendous bit of tough love. May God be with us all, as we wrestle with principalities and darkness.
-- Sally Vaci
Birmingham, Alabama

OLD ARGUMENTS
Re: John Tabin's Meet President Bush:

I don't know if the President got his debate tips from a weblog or not as John Tabin suggested in his column, but former Senator Bob Dole said the same thing on John Stewart's Daily Show last week, before the Russert interview.

I also recall when Dan Quayle was criticized for hiding in the National Guard during the Vietnam War, the standard "rebuttal" was to claim critics were "insulting the fine men and women of the National Guard" or words to that effect.

This kind of sophistry may be alive and well on the web, but it's been around for quite some time.

It's a poor excuse for a real argument, and suggests that those who employ the dodge have nothing else to say.
-- Jon R. Koppenhoefer
Springfield, Ohio

IF IT WORKS UNFIX IT
Re: Matt Welch's Trouble in the Toilet:

The trouble is not only in the toilet, but everywhere. The other day I rented a economy car and couldn't remember how to lower the window. I can't spell without my computer's spellcheck nor do simple mathematics without a calculator. If my magic wand goes on the fritz, I will be stuck with only one channel on the TV and heaven forbid it may be tuned to CBS.
-- Tom Bullock
West Covina, California

Mr. Welch has done us a fine service in highlighting this Brave New World concept of how a public restroom should be automated. From the performance of certain modern gee-whiz gadgets I have seen, it would be well if someone created the Titanic Urinal Company or Hindenburg Toilets, Inc. In all but the older American homes we have toilets that verge on malfunctioning every day. It is called the low-flow toilet. We are saddled with two of these pesky things because we moved into a new home last year. Daily I would have to use the plunger to finish the simple act of deposing of sewage. Then I had to somehow clean the plunger without spreading the dripping mess around the commode. After much swearing and complaints, I was able to find a model that worked as expected. Why was all this effort necessary? To "save" a couple of quarts of water? What about all the water we scatter when washing a car or watering a landscape?

We had the plumbing technology for decades that took care of our sanitary needs quite well, thank you. The federal mandate to make the toilet tanks smaller was, perhaps, one of the most stupid ideas our mighty government has ever come up with. And, with the millions of other stupid ideas to come out of the black hole of a think tank, that is saying something.

Toilet use is one of the most personal and necessary activities in which we engage on a daily basis. There is no need for snoops and busybodies to invade this space for "improvements." Functioning indoor plumbing is a mark of civilization for it got rid of the outhouse or using the great outdoors as our toilets. The success of potty training is accomplished at an early age. Surely, we as adults are quite able to continue the steps involved without some electronic assistance.
-- Al Martin
Depoe Bay, Oregon

GET GREEN FOR DEAN
Re: The Washington Prowler's Green Without Envy:

Run, Howard, run as Green. Not only will it put you squarely at the political fringe but it will also ensure a Bush re-election. John (ketch-up) Kerry will have a hard time keeping the Deaniacs in the Democratic Party with you out there in the ozone. Why not act as the spoiler? After all, your policies spoiled Vermont for us hard working taxpayers. Maybe this will be more to your liking. You'd really be an underdog, more so than now. Yeah, Howie, run as Green. It'll match your pallor anyway.
-- Pete Chagnon

GROW UP ALREADY
Re: Mike Rizzo's letter ("Pollstergeist") in Reader Mail's Simply Delicious:

Once more for the record: the name of the political party now in control of the Presidency and Congress is the Republican Party, not Conservative Party. Republicans come from, and are indeed welcome from, all walks of American life. Lastly, ruling parties usually have a responsibility to govern all citizens, drawing ideas from and making compromises with all parties that will rarely please every single individual citizen.

If Conservatives truly feel that President Bush should be in total lock-step with them, and feel they should bolt from the party whenever he angers them, well... I humbly submit those who'd follow through as such are more than a bit naïve. These might be the same people who are under the delusion that Ronald Reagan was born a Conservative Republican and underwent no evolution during his own outstanding presidency.

We currently have a President of the highest moral character, nearly heedless of polls, aided by growing Republican majorities in Congress and still showing positive numbers of support from the American people. Hard work is being done to make us all safer and simultaneously more prosperous, yet the growing tide of Conservative naysayers accuse the President of being a pandering spendthrift who's abandoning his "base."

If you'd prefer John Kerry in the White House, just be sure to remember what the last Democratic President did to piddle away American security, he being far more "centrist" than Kerry. Remember the USMTM compound in Riyadh, Khobar Towers in Dhahran, two American embassies in Africa, the USS Cole, and no credible effort to confront the threat of Islamofascism, either with friend or foe, that led to September 11. Ideological purity may be a nice warm blanket for you, but the rest of us have to live in the real world where we need the grownups in charge.

Conservative first, Republican second? "Friends don't let friends vote Republican?" Must sound like music to leftist ears everywhere. It is possible to debate policy (illegal aliens, domestic spending, etc.) without threatening to walk off the stage all the time. If you folks screw around and stick us with another Clinton again, don't be surprised if a lot of us don't come rallying back to you later when you need us. As Dubya said not so long ago: "Enough is enough." Get back on the damn team and stay in the game.
-- Jeff Kocur
Milford, Delaware

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