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Adult Behavior

Are the Democrats up to it? Is seat-belt wearing a sign of it? Plus more.

1.15.04

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FORGET ABOUT IT
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s End of the Road:

As for Iowa and New Hampshire putting a zipper on the oafs -- don't hold your breath.
-- Diamon Sforza
San Diego, California

FOREVER YOUNG
Re: Jay Currie's The Children's Hour:

Excellent article for content and entertainment. Makes the point that, in light of the fact that Bush cannot be taken in 2004, the real pros of the 'Crats, e.g. Bill, Hillary, Al, are letting Deanie Babies have the party for this election ... thus to spiral down, crash and burn. Then in '08, with the children chastised, the "pros" will move in.

Problem is, the 'Crats are as low on adults as they are on political moderates. Bill and Al are children for sure: Bill's still acting out adolescent horniness. Algore has no idea who in the world he is. Far as the Rodham is concerned, no matter how old and mean she progresses, she still calls to mind a snotty, conniving, pre-teen teacher suck up, who would sell her classmates into the principal's office for a red star on her forehead.
-- CGP in Monett, Missouri

Your article on the Democrat "Power Brokers" is very telling and should serve as a wake-up call for the Republicans. It is way past time for them to be looking at 2008.

Step 1: Have Cheney retire.

Step 2: Name Cheney special adviser to the President.

Step 3: Name Dr. Condoleezza Rice vice president.

Step 4: Have Dr. Rice serve four years and establish her base.

Step 5: Elect the first black, woman, President, Dr. Rice.
-- George R. Shelley
California High School
California, Missouri

Thank you Jay. I agree but there are some facts that can't be ignored:

First, the Clintons are going to continue to try to salvage their name in history through the "smartest woman in the world" -- since the slickest man in the world couldn't.

Second, Clinton, Gore, and Dean have permanently isolated the extremists on the left -- hence committed them to the Democratic Party for eternity (if they don't break off for the Green meanies -- which still costs dems votes), hence identified the Dems as the leftist party it has been forced to become in this election cycle.

Third, the "serious" politicians in the Democratic Party have admitted that it is only power they seek, not consensus. They've lost power as a result of their extremism, now they don't like it and claim to want to move us back to the "center" from the edge.

Finally: Democrats don't really need to educate their "troops," they simply need to scare them senseless, stir them into a frenzy every time they gather and then let the appearance of Moore, Moveon, Garafolo et al. prove the quality of their followers.

My personal hope is that Hillary is nominated by acclamation at the convention, at which time she will be forced to turn down the nomination (she can't afford to offend that many angry white men in her own party) and prove that she knows that she can't beat G.W.

By the way, who is she going to "unite" in the Democratic Party if not the loonies that she and her party have cultured over the last 30-50 years.
-- Stu Margrey
Denton, Maryland

Couple of problems with the political assessment. If Dean ends up the front runner, even if he loses the general election, he is the head of the DNC according to party rules. That means the Clinton crowd (and the rest of the old pros) will not be in control of party apparatus in '08. Given 4 years, the Deanies that infiltrate the DNC structure could be so entrenched that it makes it hard for a Hillary run in '08.

The other problem is what the political landscape will look like after '04 to '08. As things stand now, Bush in, two more seats in the Senate go Republican (53 total), one or two pickups in the House for Republicans, possible retention of California as a Republican state and maybe one more governorship going to the GOP as well. Now even if Dean is the Lamb of Winter, I see no signs of the Dems repositioning themselves for a revival at the grass roots to win back some of the House seats or governorships. By the time '08 rolls around the Dems maybe so marginalized that the Big Tent, all bright and shiny, has many heading for the exits. For what is the value of a party if it is not to win an election?

And finally, Dean does lose, so what? With the structure he has in place, he can wrap it up. Put it on a CD and replay again in '08. If his is the front-running position this year, there is a high likelihood he would be positioned to run again in '08. Dean appeals to a generational crowd much younger than what Hillary will draw to her campaign. Dean may be the anti-Clinton that makes Hillary's attempt a near-run thing. And he is certain to be a third party threat if he isn't given the chance one more time.

Remember, Hillary and Bill were the "Deanies" of the '60s and ended up in the White House. I don't think the "Deanies" of the '00s will yield so willingly.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

BELT BACKLASH
Re: Eric Peters's Buckle Up for Hillary:

I read Eric Peters' article against Sen. Hillary Clinton's proposed national seat belt law.

Ms. Clinton is correct in my opinion. While it may be true that it's your head that is going to be injured without seat belts, it is I, as taxpayer, who will have to pay if you don't die from your injuries.
-- Doug Byrd
Statesville, North Carolina

Hogwash. I pay higher insurance rates for every nitwit that gets
injured -- or heaven forbid, killed -- in an accident. We have lots of other "safeguards" in place that protect drivers -- air bags, for example -- that are expensive and have negligible impact on saving lives. At least seat belts DO save lives. Hillary's right on this one.
-- Charles Walsh

Well then, how about mandatory health insurance so that my tax dollars don't go to pay the emergency room costs of treating uninsured idiots who refuse to wear their seatbelts? I'd far rather have the government force me to wear a seatbelt than take away my hard earned money.
-- Melissa Herman

I am as much in favor of using seat belts as I am opposed to the government mandating their usage. There must be a free market solution to this issue. Why can not insurance policies include a proviso denying coverage to any victim of an automobile accident who incurs injury or death while not using a seat belt? If the evidence is incontrovertible, such as entering eternity through a windshield, the insurer would not be liable.
-- Kenneth Cory
China Township, Michigan

Although I am generally opposed to a lot of strong-armed government interventions into the area of a person's life, I must take exception to a measure to enforce wearing seat belts. I strongly disagree with Eric Peters' assertion that not wearing a seat belt has no negative effect on the safety and well-being of other drivers. When an unrestrained person is traveling at 60 mph in a car that comes to an abrupt halt, that person will be out of control and likely ejected from the car. I have personally observed such a scenario and seen another car crash trying to avoid the guy rolling on the asphalt. It was a certainly not a situation confined merely to the driver not wearing a seat belt.

Also, those who choose not to wear seat belts and are seriously injured as a result create a lot of unnecessary and expensive medical problems and higher insurance costs for everyone. Comparing the real, tangible damage to individuals, families, and society through the stupidity of choosing not to wear a seat belt to eating greasy food, smoking, and scuba diving constitutes an absurd and somewhat juvenile argument. Losing control of a 3,000-pound, 300-horsepower vehicle is a great deal more dangerous to others than Peters' silly comparisons.

Peters states: "Primary enforcement of seat belt laws -- and seat belt laws themselves -- are less about 'safety' and all about controlling other people." He is dead wrong in his analysis -- public safety requires control, both on an individual and collective basis. That is why we require people to prove that they know how the safely drive a car before getting a license; why states and municipalities post stop signs, traffic lights, and speed limits; and why states require that young children be secured in car seats while traveling on the road.

I have no problem with the police ticketing idiots not wearing seat belts. It has nothing to do with "personal choice" -- just as I don't want a 13-year-old "choosing" to race a car around on city streets, neither do I really want a body flying out of an oncoming car to become my hood ornament.
-- Craig Coulombe
Oakton, Virginia

We've had a seat belt law here in California for quite some time and I don't find it to be a big deal.
-- Nick Putnam
Oakland, California

I am no supporter of Hillary, but I think Eric Peters has overlooked something in his editorial about federal law requiring seat belt use. In his article he states, "Wearing or not wearing a seat belt has no negative effect on the safety and well-being of other drivers." I humbly disagree. During evasive maneuvers in his vehicle, an unbuckled friend of mine was tossed into the passenger seat when his vehicle went off the road and into the ditch. The vehicle continued traveling, now undriven until it struck a house and ended up in someone's living room where it came to rest. Now, if my friend had been belted into his seat with his seatbelt, he would have likely stayed in control of the vehicle, instead of becoming useless cargo. So, seatbelts DO protect the welfare of other drivers and pedestrians by ensuring that the driver of a vehicle will in times of need be able to steer the vehicle, and use the brake because they will be able to maintain their station in the vehicle. I think that Mr. Peters would agree that it is tough to control a vehicle from the passenger seat or the back seat.
-- David Law
UMS LAN Support

Seat belt laws are not about "your" freedom. They are about my taking care of your comatose ass when you go through the windshield.
-- Bob Zola

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