The Spectacle Blog

Bill Bennett

By on 9.30.05 | 11:31AM

Between Bill Frist's perfectly reasonable explanation about the sale of his stock, the seemingly standard fundraising process of TRMPAC and Rep. Tom DeLay allies, and absolute weirdness of Judith Miller's sudden decision, there has to be something in the water that liberals and Democratic hacks are drinking. How else to explain the Bill Bennett dust up?

Summing up, here is what played out on Bennett's excellent morning radio show, "Morning in America." Bennett was speaking with a caller who claimed there were statistics that showed that were abortion still illegal, the U.S. population would be large enough to cover the Boomer Generation's Social Security tab.

Bennett disagreed. And went on to point out that this line of statistical extrapolation was a tricky thing. This was a reference to the book, Freakanomics, which built its arguments around such extrapolations, and which posited that the 30-year-low in crime today was the result of abortions in the inner cities.

Bennett pointed to these statistics, and said, "But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

Bennett then said, very clearly and insistently, that such an approach was "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."

You would have to be either extremely dim or extremely bent on creating trouble for Bennett to take his conversation any other way than what he intended: abortion under any circumstance is bad.

Bennett is one of conservatism's staunchest leaders. He's a good man, a great thinker, and one of our stronger polemicists on issues from Iraq to terrorism to life issues. We cannot and must not allow him to be marginalized by the crowd that is now attempting to do just that.

(UPDATE, 12:31 p.m. Rush Limbaugh has rushed in to fight off Bennett's hack distorters. Tune in or read the transcript tonight at rushlimbaugh.com)

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