Re: David Hogberg's No Repeat of 1992:
Surely David Hogberg is correct in predicting a Bush win in 2004, regardless of the economy.
He cites the contrary opinion of Niall Ferguson (who is, I have no doubt, a pleasant and generally learned man). Political observers of the American presidency such as Ferguson always seem to miss a key factor in voters' perceptions. Americans above all else want their President to be a leader, most especially during times of stress. When George H.W. Bush lost to Clinton in '92 far more than the economy concerned the electorate, especially conservative voters. Subsequent to the Gulf War the first Bush appeared wishy-washy and indecisive, led hither and thither by the opinions of his staff rather than by his own visions. As a result, many who were disinclined to choose the leadership-challenged Clinton turned to Ross Perot, a strange little man with a weird speaking style, but one who at least seemed to know his own mind most of the time. And it was Perot, as we should be aware, who gave the election to Mr. 43%, Bill Clinton.
During the 1992 town meeting where the candidates were chided by a pony-tailed man for not acting as the people's "parents," George H.W. lost his last chance to win the election. If instead of seeming to apologize and looking at his watch he had said something on the order of, "Be careful what you wish for, young man. If I were your father the first thing I would make you do is get a haircut," the absurdity of the question would have been exposed, and conservative-leaning voters would have -- assuming this attitude had continued to be expressed -- flocked back to a not-so-gentle, less-kind Bush.
The present Bush has a sharp edge that his father lacked. It was not often seen during the 2000 election season but has been increasingly evident since the start of the War on Terror. This Bush will not go gently down to defeat in the next election, regardless of whether the economy is good, bad or indifferent, if he continues to take a consistently determined line in dealing with the problems facing the nation. As long as he has his own ideas and forcefully urges them, lack of success in the short run will not be held against him. After all, the first requirement in a leader is that he appear confident of where he is headed; actually heading in the correct direction is initially of secondary importance. The principle involved is: Don't just stand there -- do something!
Other examples of the leadership factor abound, I believe. Despite his senior position in the Senate Bob Dole had never been seen as much of a leader, and his selection of the squishy Jack Kemp as his VP worked to destroy any chance of winning the leadership contest over the also weak Clinton. Reagan's remarkable defeat of a sitting President in 1980 may be attributed in large part to his leader-like bearing, and even more to Carter's so obvious lack of it. And when Carter beat Ford four years earlier it was surely a contest between two weak leaders, one of whom publicly failed to understand that Poland was not yet a free nation.
So there you have it: the only thing that can beat Dubya is Dubya -- the economy by itself will not save the potential Democrat sacrificial victim.
-- Richard Donley
Why is it, that columnists comparing the 1992 presidential election with the upcoming 2004 election, all fail to mention that Ross Perot's running as an independent contributed mightily to the reelection of George Bush I?
The 19% vote for Perot was mostly conservative and independent voters leaning right, who would have voted for Bush had Perot not made a run.
With the Democrats' current stand on national security, I don't see anyone beating Bush II, regardless of the state of the economy. This country simply can't afford another Democrat until the war on terror has been won, and a majority of the American voters will likely express this sentiment at the ballot box.
-- Ralph Goodson
Vero Beach, FL
Unmentioned in Hogberg's article were several points:
• Ross Perot will not be around to split the conservative vote;
• President Bush has not made a "Read my lips" gaffe and is working hard for a tax cut;
• President Bush has not alienated the NRA with a push for more gun control laws, although this will be an issue when the "Assault Rifle Ban" sunsets.
Conservatives who were disappointed with Bush Sr. had Perot as an alternative; unfortunately, a great many people decided to teach Bush Sr. a lesson and we wound up with Clinton. Who learned the lesson?
Please encourage your readers to help Al Sharpton's campaign.
-- Lamar Johnson
Regarding Mr. Hogberg's comparison of the two Bush campaigns:
George W's sure-fire slogan for 2004 should be: "Are you and your family safer than you were four years ago?"
-- Steve Nikitas
FORD AS IN SHARP, NOT SHARPTON
Re: The Washington Prowler's The Kerry-Ford Ticket:
I love The Prowler, whose excellent nose-for-news beats all Washington-whisper look-alike columns. But I was a bit surprised at the April 30th "A Kerry-Ford Ticket" news concerning Mr. Sharpton's "candidacy" and Ford. But not for the reasons you think.
Ford is now expected to help Kerry raise money in Tennessee and is already working on generating support inside the Congressional Black Caucus. Surprisingly, Ford was not contacted by the Rev. Al Sharpton. "The Rev never approached us," says the Ford staffer.
I am as conservative as they come, and originally hail from Memphis, Tennessee, where Ford was my congressional representative. Over the years I've had the chance to be close to him and hear him speak on a variety of issues in lots of venues. Mercifully, I never have had to be in the same room as Sharpton.
These are both intelligent men. Sharpton is intelligent like the demagogue criminal's of the French Reign of Terror. Ford is intelligent like the ambitious bright young man he is. Other than that they are both intelligent, and Democrats, these men have nothing in common. Oh, except that they are both black. Irrelevant.
I expect the reason Sharpton did not call Ford is Sharpton knew he risked Ford not taking his call. I expect the reason the Ford staffer made sure The Prowler knew Sharpton hasn't called is Ford wants it that way.
As long as he stays clear of charlatans like Sharpton, or being dragged into the politics of the loony left espoused by Pelosi, we would do well to watch the career of Mr. Ford. I believe he is a member of the loyal opposition whom we will be working with and whose star clearly is rising.
However, we would also do well to recall the career of another young Icarus in a Congress, also born in Tennessee. Julian Bond was once such a popular new voice in Georgia's Congress he was nominated for Vice President of the United States, the first black to be so honored by a major political party. He withdrew his name because he was too young to serve.
According to my best information, on May 11 Mr. Ford will turn 33 years old (born May 11, 1970). On January 20, 2005, he still will be 34.
-- James N. Ward
Re: Dariel A. Colella's Pediatric Prozac:
Just a comment:
My daughter is in private school. I don't have to worry about her being labeled with a fictitious disorder by this poor excuse for a science they call psychiatry. The Dean would grab a shotgun if a psychiatrist got within a mile radius of her school. I wish all other schools would follow the example and hold these drug pushers in contempt.
THIS WON'T HURT
Re: "WMD Backlash" in Wlady's Corner:
Finally! Scientific proof confirming what we always knew to be the truth: all those liberal carpers can't really feel our pain. ("New research concludes that fish lack the capacity to feel pain.")
-- Doc Watson
Before the war, lots of lefties prefaced their cowardice with, "Of course Saddam is a brutal dictator, but under international law, what we are about to do is illegal."
After the war, they say they are glad to have him gone, but just disagree with how we did it. "Of course Saddam was a brutal dictator, but under international law, what we did was illegal".
So now I ask these people: Suppose Saddam Hussein turns up alive, and demands that under international law, what the U.S. did was completely illegal, and that the international community should restore him to power.
Would you agree that he should be restored?
It nicely forces them to do one of three things (1) Support the
reinstallation of a brutal dictator, in the name of justice. (2) Admit that the U.S. was justified in what it did, or (3) claim that the U.S. was not justified in what it did, but that they like the result, and would not change it; in other words, that they are quite willing to do what they accuse President Bush of doing, ignoring international law to achieve desired ends.
So far the most common response is the "Oh-you-war-mongers-are-hopelessly-naive eye-roll, or a quick subject change. Haven't got an honest answer, or even an admission that the question is worth asking, in about 10 tries.
-- Joseph Auchter
SEX ADDICTION'S VICTIMS
Re: James Bowman's review of It Runs in the Family:
If this film is representative of our zeitgeist -- and obviously it is --all of us now on earth should hang our heads in shame. What were Michael, Kirk, Diana and Fred Schepisi thinking? (I seemed to remember that Schepisi has directed several good movies in Australia and other parts of the world, but on reflection, maybe not. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith turned out to have raised false hopes concerning his ability -- the films since have inevitably disappointed. e.g. probably only Pauline Kael sat through all of Barbarosa and then appeared to have watched a different movie than everyone else.)
Michael Douglas famously entered therapy for "sex addiction" in an attempt to convince his first wife he was not responsible for inveterate philandering -- ultimately he was not successful but earned Catherine Zeta-Jones as a consolation prize, after dallying with Ms. Maureen Dowd for a season. Perhaps this obsession accounts for his belief a story about the education of an 11-year-old boy in the art of seducing adolescent girls is edifying and entertaining, but what about the others involved in this pornographic family enterprise?
And these are the pissants who presume to dictate to the us concerning politics and world affairs. If these people really have an interest in making entertaining and serious films about the emotional lives of children, let them study Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol or if they are determined to try comedy Anthony Kimmins's Smiley -- both with the incomparable Ralph Richardson.
-- J. R. Wheatley
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Plain Speak:
I liked the points you made in this. Very interesting. True, good speakers aren't necessarily smart, and the other way around as well. Another thing to point out is that those that are extremely gifted often have speech impediments. There's a guy at my church who is so smart, he can't speak hardly at all.
However, your acting point, I kind of disagree. While I see what you're trying to say, and to a certain point it's true, actors are often, actually, quite intelligent. The thing is that it takes a lot of hard work to actually be able to act, and to be successful (beyond the few that are just lucky), you need to have a lot of talents and be able to learn them quickly. Some actors will have to learn to master a musical instrument or two in a matter or weeks, some will have to learn rock climbing, martial arts, the fine points of certain sports, etc. Yes, there are a good number of actors who are idiots, but look at the roles they play. Any actor who actually plays good, diverse parts and has an actual career outside of their looks is often very smart.
I do agree with you on the point that, for the most part, actors don't know anything about politics and foreign policy and what not, just look at Martin Sheen.
-- Chris Graue
Re: Jed Babbin Babes at Arms:
I can appreciate the fact that a 130 pound woman is going to have a difficult time with a 80lb mortar baseplate, or two boxes of .50 ammo. Physical strength alone argues against women in combat.
That said, there is no need to diminish Jessica Lynch's role as a heroine.
It is arguable that the good Samaritan who tipped the SpecOps guys did so precisely because she was a woman being treated ignobly. We might not have found the remains of the other troops killed with her had the tip not come in.
America is short of heroes and heroines.
Attack the Feminazis all you want but Jessica has served proudly. Maybe not up to Bronze Star courage, but it is good to have her home, and she should not be ashamed of how she is being used by those with an agenda.
-- Lamar Johnson
In Wednesday's Reader Mail, David Govett writes:
Apropos "Oil on Reserve" by Herbert London, exactly why is Canada a more dependable trading partner than is Saudi Arabia? The Saudis frequently have increased production -- to their own detriment -- to benefit the U.S. economy, while the Canadians have...what?
My reply: Ask the guys at Texaco, BP, Shell and others. They have their branches over there and they are not subject to any OPEC quotas.
-- Jan Machat
I'd like to add another item to Alessandro Nicolo's (Reader Mail, April 30, 2003) list of reasons we dread debating some people:
6) Those who feel, no matter what, that they are always correct in their assumptions due to their feeling of moral superiority. They are similar to those in #1 but think their logic trumps facts because they "care more" or, as was once quoted to me, "at least I have a cause."
-- Greg Barnard
MAY DAY PARADE
Since this is May Day in some countries (National Prayer Day here in the U.S., Workers Day in Italy), that day when the USSR, back when it was still called the USSR, trotted out its weapons and its tanks and goose-stepped over human rights, I thought what more fitting tribute than my favorite Reagan story. The following is from a letter I had written back in 1992:
Monday, August 24th .....
I heard this great story about Reagan on C-SPAN the other day. One time when Reagan met with Gorbachev, Gorby monopolized the meeting for the first thirty minutes or so while Reagan just sat there saying nothing. Gorby was in his offensive mode at that time. He went on and on ad nauseam until Reagan asked if he could tell a story he had heard about him. This unnerved his cabinet members present as Reagan could tell some "pretty interesting" stories about Russia that no one wanted repeated in public. This isn't a direct quote, but it goes as follows:
Mr. Gorbachev, I heard you were traveling by car one day and had asked your driver to go faster because he was going too slowly for you. He said he couldn't go any faster than the speed limit because you had said speeding and driving while intoxicated were against the law. So, you told him to change places with you and you would drive him. Eventually you were stopped by a policeman. When the policeman went back to his car, his partner had asked why he didn't give out a ticket. The policeman replied that it must have been a pretty important person in the back because Gorbachev was the driver!
That was the beginning of a friendship between the two, and it was the beginning of the end of Communism. Since then, Gorbachev himself has said that Reagan was correct in referring to the USSR as "the evil empire" because it was.
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, NY
Great reading on this May Day. It's a way to end the evening and next morning use the information from the Prowler/Spectator to carry on a conversation.
-- Harry J. Gary
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