Reader Mail

The Gentleman From Oklahoma

Don Nickles is A-OK. Which sound a Lott more than what's being said about the GOP Senate leader. Then there's Sen. Peter Fitzgerald? Plus Lotts more ...

12.19.02

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NICKLES IS A-OK
Re: John Corry Lott Without the Frenzy and Mary Murray's "Replacements" letter in Reader Mail's Hearing and Listening:

As an Oklahoman and a conservative Republican, I'm baffled by Mary Murray's slap at our senior Senator, Don Nickles, and John Corry's claim that he displays "naked ambition." While it's true that Oklahoma is not as electorally important as Texas or Tennessee -- only 7 electoral votes, which haven't gone to a Democrat since 1964 -- I don't see the connection between presidential electoral calculation and who should lead our party in the Senate. Conviction, character, backbone, and political skill are what is needed.

It's true that Nickles didn't have a long and distinguished pre-Senate career, but that's because he was elected at age 31 in 1980, defeating better-financed candidates in the primary through a strong conservative Christian grass-roots network. Before the Senate he served briefly in the State Senate and ran his family's business. During his 22 years in the Senate, he has consistently worked for the implementation of the conservative agenda. He is not a publicity seeker. He is not afraid to be on the losing end of an 80-20 vote if it's a matter of conscience.

I see nothing ambitious in Don Nickles' call for reconsidering who should be Majority Leader. He's been around the Senate long enough to know that the "Club" won't reward his "treason." His move was a risky one that could even cost him his new role as Budget Committee chairman. Lott's allies (including his toesucking political consultant) will dig up anything they can to trash him for his bravery. Having watched his career for over two decades, I believe Don Nickles spoke as he did because he felt it needed to be done. Forty-nine senators might have been ready to dump Lott, but until someone spoke out, nothing was going to happen. His courage marks him as someone who could be a great Majority Leader, but it's more likely that he merely opened the door for someone else, someone who will cautiously straddle the fence over the next three weeks.

As for Mr. Lott, it's bad enough to have a backbench Republican Senator (Mr. McCain) who got caught, and who is willing to trash the Constitution in order to redeem himself in the eyes of the Left. We don't need a Majority Leader who will use his considerable power for the same selfish ends.
-- Michael Bates
Tulsa, OK

INDIVIDUAL BLESSINGS
Re: Mark Goldblatt's A Wake Up Call:

Sir, that was an excellent article on the futility of Republicans trying to woo black voters. I'd love to interview you my radio program here in Jackson, Mississippi. I am Republican who happens to be black. I have refused to participate in minority outreach for just the same reasons you outlined in your article. If the people don't agree with our party philosophy then we don't need them. If you are available please be in touch. If not, may God continue bless you real good!
-- Kim Wade
News talk 1180 am and 103.9 fm.

CHEERS AND JEERS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Mean and Ignoble:

R. Emmett Tyrrell calls the Trent Lott affair a "media feeding frenzy" but it's really more accurate to call them a nasty swarm of buzzards or vultures picking a dead carcass clean. No more, no less. When the bones are devoid of meat, the swarm picks up and moves on towards its next victim, and then descends unmercilessly again. The buzzards and their vulture friends pat themselves on the back at cocktail parties and in their news columns for being morally superior to the victim, and for that keen ability to not only pompously call another a "racist", but to know that the accused has been a racist all his life. It's contemptible and deeply disgusting, but that's what passes for a free press these days (excepting a few contributors). That's why this week the buzzards need the reward of Enemy of the Week.
-- John Patterson
Ridgewood, NJ

I remember being disoriented in 1984 after Geraldine Ferraro was nominated and something that seems to have been the opposite side of the media frenzy (described by R. Emmett Tyrrell) was operating. Despite substantial questions concerning her husband's alleged unsavory business connections, the mainstream media appeared to conclude that it would be unseemly to ask the questions, pronouncing an embargo that was honored during the rest of the campaign -- the embargo was effective from her press conference in which she released personal tax returns but not those of her husband's business's. (When a reporter pointed to the lack of full disclosure, another quieted him, saying she had done enough.) Never since have believed naively that the real facts are relevant in politics -- if anyone disagrees ask the Clintons.
-- J. R. Wheatley

As I have contemplated Trent Lott's now-famous nostalgic remarks about the glories of the old segregated South, my thoughts have turned to a number of questions. Question number one is, how could one of our best-known politicians, veteran of decades of negotiating political minefields, say something in public which is so incredibly stupid and so potentially damaging to his career?

Then I remembered something. I thought I had read somewhere that Lott was a cheerleader at Ole Miss. If so, this would explain everything.

I did a little research and it's true, Lott was a cheerleader when he was an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi. The CNN All Politics website adds helpfully that Lott was a "male cheerleader." That's good to know. With all the other accusations about Lott's past, at least we know he wasn't engaged in cross-dressing while he was leading cheers for the fightin' Rebels.

Cheerleading, as we know, is above all a mindless activity. Good cheerleading requires the ability to turn off totally one's inhibitions and capacity for deep thought and submerge yourself completely in the moment. People who pride themselves on keeping their analytical faculties operating at all times don't make good cheerleaders. So here was Lott at the banquet for Strom Thurmond, enthusiastically stepping back into his cheerleader mode and, like a good cheerleader, turning off his brain and his inhibitions. The rest is history.

In all seriousness, Lott has got to go as majority leader, now more than ever. But then I was all for replacing him as Senate Republican leader years ago.
-- John Combellick
Oshkosh, WI

ILL PORK
Re: The Washington Prowler's More Senate Trouble: Illinois' Looming Rematch:

These are tough times for Illinois Republicans. Governor George Ryan has been a disgrace, at best. His buddy, Dennis Hastert, like George Ryan, appears to be taking orders from Mayor Daley and the Chicago Democrats. To most of us, Hastert isn't much different from Dan Rostenkowski -- operating under the assumption that good government is all about pork, pork, and more pork. Peter Fitzgerald might be the only honest politician in Illinois and a conservative's only hope. He needs to start his own grass-roots organization pronto!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, IL

As a conservative living in Illinois, (state mottoes: "Daley for Mayor Everywhere"; "Even the Dead Vote Here"), I would like to add to your article on Peter Fitzgerald. I hate to break it to his staff, but it's not true that "he's that popular." The rural/suburban areas voted overwhelmingly for Bush in 2000; the "blue" parts of the map were all Chicago-machine controlled areas. What we need is not another term with a moderate Republican, but an inspired and inspiring conservative. Peter Fitzgerald's record is appallingly poor on conservative issues such as guns and hunting rights, crime and taxes. The only thing I can agree with is that "he is practically invisible" on conservative issues and that he should at least have to deal with a Republican challenge in the primary. This state needs a conservative who will strongly challenge the machine politicians who are currently in charge. Unless we want Peter Fitzgerald, RINO, to be "the future of the party," we will need the help of the national Republican Party to succeed.
-- Sally Haney
Cary, IL

ON CLONE
Re: George Neumayr's Stanford's Cult of the Stong:

I try to keep up with this topic but admit that hazy public pronouncements from the research establishment often befuddle me.

But, is "plunipotent" a misprint or is there a new specialized word I need to add to my cloning vocabulary?
-- Bob Reynolds

The Editor replies: My fault. The correct term is "pluripotent." The misspelling has been corrected.

THE REAL LESTER
Re: Patrick J. Michaels' We Decide, We Report:

Please advise the author that Lester Brown is an Agricultural Economist, not an Agronomist.

I am an Agronomist. I have a friend who is an Agricultural Economist. Believe you me, there is quite a difference between the two fields of study!

Otherwise, the article was well written and the information in it should be more widely reported than it currently is.

Yours truly,
-- Rush E. McCarty

U.K. PHARISEES AND SUVS
Re: Ben Stein's Roadway Pharisees:

Ben Stein -- totally right. Someone give that man a cash bonus! I've been waiting for someone to say what he says, specifically the paragraph pasted below.* It's the same thing with Kyoto: America, the most self-consciously clean and technologically advanced, gets kicked in the teeth while backwards and careless polluters get a free pass. My father spent a month in China on business two years ago, and had respiratory troubles and red eyes the whole time. In England where I live the government is anti-car on account of pollution, accidents and god knows what, but if the car tax and other taxes were not so enormous, English drivers might have more money with which to buy newer, safer, cleaner cars. In fact, the yearly tax on company cars actually rewards companies whose cars are four years old or older.
-- Amanda Bernsen

*And by the way, why are these ads about large cars and air quality appearing in magazines and newspapers in the United States? This is where we have strict air pollution standards for cars and trucks. This is where we have strict emission laws for factories and utilities. What is this group doing about the polluters in India and Pakistan and China who have produced the noxious "brown cloud" that occupies much of Asia and whose effluence reaches and destroys American forests and lungs as pollution and acid rain? Shouldn't they really be going after people who burn totally unscrubbed coal, i.e., Chinese and Indians, instead of the housewife with her catalytic converter and state of the art anti-pollution equipment on her Pontiac Aztec?

DESERT SANDS
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Stop the Killing:

Mason and Felder: "Where would the Arabs go?"

Answer: There's lots of empty land in Saudi-owned Arabia. They can make the desert bloom, as the Jews did in Israel.
-- unsigned

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