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Rosey Scenarios

Sliding head first into Pete. A Schlesingerian Howie. Amnesty rationale. Extending the Bush dynasty. Plus much more.

1.12.04

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ANDY JACKSON DEAN
Re: Shawn Macomber's Deaniacs.com:

In 1828, the son of a president was defeated by a Democrat who brought thousands of disenfranchised new voters into politics. The son of a president was elected just 4 years earlier -- not because he won a majority of votes but because he was given the presidency through the Electoral College.

The doors of the White House were thrown opened and all those backward backwoodsmen dirtied the floors as Andrew Jackson was inaugurated, defeating John Quincy Adams with votes from the likes of people society folk looked down upon as queer and unusual.

The unusual voting bloc helped make what history has called the Age of Jackson and Jacksonian democracy.

Thank you for your enlightening article about those voters who, apparently, are so different from you and other highly respectable folk.
-- Michael J. Contos
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

SLIDING INTO HOME
Re: Paul Beston's When Remorse Isn't Rosey:

Pete Rose should be in Baseball's Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on the field. Pete Rose should not be accepted back into the world of baseball because he knew the rules and he broke them.
-- Larry Wade
Jackson, Mississippi

Undeniably, Pete Rose, one of baseball's greatest players ever, earned lifetime banishment from baseball. This is unambiguous and incontrovertible, however sincere Rose's apology may eventually become.

However, did he earn exclusion from the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown? Nothing in Rule 21(d) says this outright, however you want to read "permanent ineligibility."

To this amateur baseball legalist, one solution repeatedly rears its head: (a) confirm Rose's lifetime ban from active participation in professional baseball; (b) submit his name for election to Cooperstown; and c) if/when he is elected, grant him his plaque in the Hall, but without a part in any induction ceremony. Case closed.

The sooner his stellar career gets its shrine in Cooperstown, the sooner this ambiguous and silly state of affairs can end, and the sooner his ugly mug can disappear from our screens.
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

Surfing for something else a few years back, probably a baseball game, I accidentally caught Pete Rose's ex-wife on a talk show and she summed up Charlie's hustle pretty well. Said La Rose, "As a human being, Pete Rose is a great ball player."

Exactly. (She also said, "The only book Pete ever read in his whole life was 'The Pete Rose Story,' and he skipped parts of that." But this needn't detain us here. No one ever said Pete was a scholar.)

Pete's confession and "apology" couldn't be less sincere if Pete had the services of the late Ron Ziegler to promote them along with his whiny-butt book. But who cares? And who expected anything else?

Pete wants to manage the Cincinnati Reds again. But we can all hope he never gets that chance. Baseball has good reasons to cast its gamblers into outer darkness. And Pete knew this when he gambled on baseball. Even those of us who believe in Christian forgiveness know when a life sentence should mean a life sentence.

But while we're punishing Pete Rose, let's not punish baseball fans at the same time. There's every reason to keep Pete our of a major league uniform forever, but no reason that makes any sense to keep him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cooperstown is a little jewel of a shrine that baseball pilgrims take great joy in visiting. The Hall is there to recognize and celebrate excellence in playing baseball. Nothing more or less. As has been frequently pointed out, many of the enshrinees are hardly choir boys. Many lists of "100 worst humans beings in the history of the world" would doubtless include Ty Cobb. But who would argue that a lifetime .367 hitter doesn't belong in the Hall. Sadly, some of Cobb's Cooperstown colleagues were felons, wife beaters, drunks, thieves, or other varieties of scofflaws (also some of his colleagues were -- are -- princes, and most just regular guys outside of the fact they were extremely good at playing the best game God ever invented).

No one played baseball any better than Pete Rose. And it wasn't just the numbers he put up -- incredible as they are. He played the game with aggressiveness and an all-out flare that was always a joy to watch. If every major leaguer played the game like Pete did, America would accomplish nothing between April and November because everyone would be spending all their time watching baseball games.

Put Pete in the Hall for the enjoyment of fans who visit there (hell, put an asterisk on his plaque, but have a plaque there for him), but otherwise leave him on the porch.
-- Larry Thornberry
Tampa, Florida

Pete Rose should go into the Hall of Fame as a player. He's more qualified than half those there now. As a player, he was forward in befriending black players and he learned Spanish to make Latino fellow players comfortable. He was among the first to voluntarily room with minority players. He was very popular with most of his teammates on both the Reds and the Phillies (though some of them are now taking the party line on him). Johnny Bench is a critic of Rose, but he has skeletons in his own closet. As captain of the Reds he was a great team leader, as well as a great player. He made a hash of his personal life, but a lot of professional athletes have done that. Bart Giamatti has never been one of my favorite people, anyway. Just another effete Eastern establishment pencil neck, like all too many American journalists.
-- unsigned

Paul Beston replies:
I'm second to none in my admiration for Rose as a player. He was a dynamo, one of the greatest players in the game's history. As Mr. Thornberry notes, that designation is not so much about numbers as about how he played on the field.

As far as the Hall of Fame goes, if I am not mistaken it was in 1991 that Cooperstown passed a new rule saying that players on the Ineligible List would be not be allowed on the ballot. This was five years after Rose's retirement, so he would have been eligible beginning that year. Many found the timing of the Hall's new rule highly suspicious.

However, in all the years before 1991, Joe Jackson was not voted in. Therefore the rule seemed to be more of a codification of an existing standard than anything else. Everyone knows that as a player Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he is on the Ineligible List, and if justice prevails, will remain there. Perhaps after his lifetime ban has been served, he can be enshrined posthumously. That would be neat, tidy, and fair, in my view.

The well-known list of unsavory characters in the Hall of Fame is not persuasive. They are in the Hall for what they did in baseball. Rose is not in the Hall because of what he did to baseball.

THINKING ALOUD
Re: Lawrence Henry's Thinking About That "Amnesty" and Reader Mail's Amnesty Amok:

Since no one else said it, I'll say it.

President Bush's Amnesty ideal does have debatable policy overtones, of that there is no question.

But unless he is caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, President Bush already statistically has locked up a second term. The probability of a Dean win is a six sigma event, and drafting Hillary from the floor is a three sigma event. Ain't gonna happen.

So the only chore Bush really has is to plow the field for his successor GOP candidate in 2008. Who could run against Hillary?

For my money, the interesting view is the political dimension. The Hispanic vote in the USA is on the table, and Bush needs to make progress getting them in the GOP column. Hispanics already are there on most social issues, work ethics, and a worldview of reward for risk taking (all those illegals did take risks to get to the USA, after all). They love the American Dream because they are living it. Bush just needs to seal the deal with a policy transition that has a multiplier effect on the Hispanic voters that already are here, and a loyalty dimension with the new Hispanic voters who will be naturalized in the coming years.

Why?

Florida Governor Jeb Bush is younger than President George W. Bush and will be 55 in 2008, and 63 (the age at which his father was elected President) in 2016. Jeb speaks fluent Spanish, has a degree in Latin American Studies, a Mexican-born wife, and a portfolio of useful contacts with Mexican leaders.

Actuarially speaking, the demographics of the Hispanic-American vote will start to hit a sweet spot during those years. Say bye-bye to the marginal affect of the African-American/Black vote on the national electoral process, because it just won't matter anymore. The Hispanic vote will be the only one both parties care about at the margin: a whole new "class" of swing voters.

Jeb's turn at bat. And by locking in the Hispanic vote for his two terms, the Democratic Party will die gasping on the ash heap of history, paving the way for the real political contest we should be having: Republicans versus Libertarians.

Wait and see.
-- James N. Ward
Paris, France

For Mr. Shreve in New Hampshire and others so violently upset over the President's illegal workers plan:

While I respect your right to take your ball and go home this fall (not vote for Bush), I encourage you to recollect 1992, Ross Perot, and the eight lovely years that ensued for conservatives.

If ya'll haven't picked up by now that Dubya is redefining our party as something other than blind allegiance to RR's legacy (as great as he was and still is), and that this is a natural progression of things as times change, well... maybe you'd be better off with a Democrat, anyway.

As for me, I know of no issue short of character failure, lousing up the WOT or the economy that would keep me from supporting our President. Everything else is negotiable.
-- Jeff Kocur
Milford, Delaware

The problem with illegal aliens will never be resolved until this country regains control of its borders. As for deportation of million of illegals being impossible? You only need to start collaring a few at a time and refuse assistance(except for medical emergency)to the rest. Couple that with enforcement of current laws regarding punishing employers who hire illegal aliens and eventually they will start moving back across the border. Canada's preferably since they think of themselves as a beacon of social justice. I realize the above sounds heartless, but this country is not responsible for providing jobs, services and welfare to anybody who comes across the border illegally. In fact, people should check how countries like Mexico deal with illegal aliens within their borders. That should make for interesting comparison.
-- Juan R-S

BEATING AROUND BUSH
Re: Jed Babbin's Truth Takes Another Beating:

While I appreciate Secretary Babbin's consistently spot-on analysis and support of President Bush's conduct of foreign policy, particularly Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, there were a couple of things in "Truth Takes Another Beating" (January 12) that I would like to address.

First is the Secretary's displeasure with the Bush amnesty program. I found Lawrence Henry's analysis (Friday, 9 January) very reasonable and insightful, especially his main premise that we have a president who is both aware of the reality of the problem and who is doing something pro-active about it. Whether Mr. Bush's policy is the correct one remains to be seen, but I am willing to let him give it a go. Surely we cannot allow things to muddle along as they have these many years.

Regarding Mr. Babbin's comment on the Bush Administration's excessive spending, like the Secretary I much prefer to see more discipline and lower spending. But from an economic point of view the worry of much of the conservative base is way overdone. The bogeyman that supposedly results from large budget deficits is the resulting high interest rates and consequent "crowding out" of private investment. (Readers may recall that Robert Rubin hung his hat on this theory.) Indeed, the president's critics and political opponents have been crying wolf over this for nearly three years now. So where are rates? The 10-year bond is at an historically low 4.08% as I write this, possibly on the verge of breaking below the 4% barrier for a second time in less than nine months. How is the deficit hurting the economy? The latest Gross Domestic Product figures and stock market performance tell us otherwise. The latest quarterly GDP figure was an 8.2% annualized rate of growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is within hailing distance of its old 2000 record of 11,287. The NASDAQ is up 64% since the market low of March 11, 2003.

No, the old Crowding Out theory (or "Rubinomics," as the Wall Street Journal sardonically calls it) has been proven to be utterly false. Strong economic growth will over time erase deficits, even a deficit as large as the present one (which by the way is not a record based on its size relative to GDP). Of course, greater spending restraints will accelerate the improvement. Maybe we'll see that in a second Bush term, and based on his handling of national security and his very timely and effective growth-promoting tax cuts I think he'll get one.
-- Paul M. DeSisto, CFA
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

I do my "opposition research" every morning with the BBC's World Service. It is an incredibly biased, anti-American and anti-Bush organization. I think my favorite recent example of their spin on events occurred last week, on the day that the 500 Iraqi POW's were to be released. After clearly stating that an American spokesman had just told the relatives assembled outside the prison that they were to travel to a nearby town where the release would actually take place, he stated (straight faced, I would presume), "No one is telling anyone what is going on and what to do".
-- Rick Hilmer

Jed Babbin says that Paul O'Neill is full of crap, and then offers zero evidence to discredit those claims. In fact, there's no meat whatsoever if Babbin's latest piece. Which is fine, as everyone is entitled to his own opinions. The problems arise when readers and authors get the fact side and the opinion side mixed up, which is frequently the case these days, especially in publications from either of the extreme points of view. In this case, Babbin tries to push his opinion (that GWB did not start planning an invasion of Iraq long before 9/11) as a fact, but he seems to have failed to realize that his position is the one that is hard to prove, while the proving the converse is merely a function of asking any of the thousands of DoD employees who were working on the Plans side of the DCSOPS whether they were working on such a plan. Because, unless our desire to support the Commander in Chief outweighs our sense of integrity (which it has, for many), we would be compelled to answer, "Yes, we were."
-- Thomas Burkowski
CommonSenseGovernment

NEVERLANDINGS
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's In the Country of the Blind:

Is "In the Country of the Blind" intended as a sick joke? If so, it wasn't funny.

The article expects us to regard the Attorney General with suspicion for no more reason than a mere nickname. No evidence of unprofessional behavior in the past is given -- absolutely none at all. And this from two people who seem more than willing to ignore abundant evidence of Jackson's guilt.

Their knowledge of our legal system is pitiful. While the system as a whole doesn't regard a defendant as guilty until that is demonstrated in court, a District Attorney who doesn't believe in that guilt would be grossly unprofessional in prosecuting.

Then there is their complaint about sending of "70 police officers to Jackson's home." Home? Have these two twits seen an aerial photo of Neverland? It's huge!

Finally there was their sick attempt to manipulate us into being angry that we might not get the same attention if we made similar charges about someone molesting our child. But I suspect most parents are delighted to see enough legal muscle being marshaled to convict someone who may be the world's wealthiest and most high-profile molester. Send Jackson to the slammer, and a lot of his kindred will quake in fear.

The editors at the Spectator need to face an unpleasant fact. An article this poorly argued should never have gone out under your masthead.
--Mike Perry
Seattle, Washington

TONGUE TRIED (III)
Re: Reid Collins' Friends, Romans, Countrymen …, Reader Mail's Language Lessons and Reader Mail's For Your Eyes Only:

One last gasp on the Reid Collins article...

In the early 70's, Edwin Newman of NBC News wrote a marvelous book entitled, Strictly Speaking: Will America Be The Death of English. The wit and wisdom in this treatise by one of the broadcasting's most respected newsmen describes the use and misuse of the English language by everyone from presidents to sportscasters in a way that can only be described as "laugh out loud funny." It is as on the mark today as is was 30 years ago.
-- Rick Osial
Montclair, Virginia

Can you put up with one more comment on "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" -- and the mail on the subject?

To John Cortens: "Only I have eyes for you" = "You're too plain or too ugly for anyone else to be attracted to you." The song title "I Only Have Eyes For You" means I have eyes for only you.

To Joel D: Irregardless? That's irredundant (some joke huh!), regardless is the correct word.
-- unsigned

Forgive me, please, for bringing up the rear on this one, but as I have only recently found The American Spectator website, I'm just now catching up.

Nevertheless, I'd like to add a few more to the list of frequently employed but badly used words:

1. I recently heard a correspondent claim that, down at campaign headquarters, a particular candidate was so excited about something that he was "literally bouncing off the walls." Literally! How unseemly.

2. Funeral homes and their marketers are fond of explaining the benefits of "pre-planning." As if plain old planning isn't good enough.

3. And what makes "co-mingling" so much more descriptive than mingling, hmmm?

All the best,
-- Steve Biddle

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