IT’S NOT ADDING UP
Re: W. James Antle III’s Barack Obama Isn’t Making Sense:
Obama = “Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots” — quote from H.L. Mencken.
— D. Moroco
Respectfully, he hasn’t made much sense, if any, since he first opened his mouth months ago and let his power-hungry, politically expedient, narcissistic tongue start wagging.
And something I once heard a cowboy from Nebraska say about the Platte River — “It’s a mile wide and an inch deep” — seems even to grossly overstate Barack Obama’s depth of knowledge of everything, including policy matters, be they domestic or foreign.
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
James Antle’s column is based on a false premise: issues matter. Forty years of lousy public schooling, an in-the-tank-for-Obama mainstream media and the exponentially increasing distractions of modern technology have turned this election in one of the least issue-oriented in modern times.
The media have referred to Barack Obama as a “rock star.” When was the last time a rock star ever had to offer nuanced explanations for his behavior?
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
I am suffering whiplash and tennis neck at the same time watching and listening to Obama.
Like a spectator at a tennis match I look left as BO serves one over the net, suffer whiplash as he amazingly jumps the net to corral the pronouncement on a bounce, then look right as BO lobs it back over the net. My head whips back and forth in amazement at this verbal prowess. All the while, Reverend Jesse is standing and watching on the sidelines, ready to cut off any errant balls. Yet for me, however, the score still remains: Nothing to Love. This, despite the swooning in the stands from the hack media applauding every shift and turn.
No Middle America football for Obama. That would mean having to get down and scrim. Nope, Barack prefers his cool tennis whites, his sweater looped and tied just so around his shoulders, mantle fashion, crown sweatband and tennis scepter. I mean racket. Chicago style.
I now understand why Barack doesn’t bowl: Too many gutterballs.
— Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
W. James Antle III’s critique of vacillating Barack Obama was perceptive. Like the “blue dogs,” Obama will say anything to get votes from gullible conservatives and erratic moderates. Then once in office, like the “blue dogs,” he will govern from the left, mystifying his right-of-center supporters, but not us real conservatives.
As for Obama being a Constitutional law instructor, my two non-specific breed dogs (one an Italian immigrant who loves America and English) know more about the Constitution than “Professor” Obama. Despite his credentials Obama has yet to put together a cogent thought about the Constitution, much less an intelligent sentence. Ted Olson, an esteemed constitutional scholar and lawyer, has repeatedly exposed Obama’s ignorance regarding the Constitution and Constitutional law. One wonders: Could Obama be confusing our Constitution with an EU document or Sharia?
Finally, Antle is too kind when he muses Obama might be a political genius. He is a predictable arrogant, opportunistic and boorish leftist, but genius? — no. Democrats are shameless political whores and Barack Obama is the latest incarnation of that party’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy. Nothing more, nothing less.
— Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
It is yet another example of convenient-speak when Mr. Obama says that visitors from Europe speak English, they speak French and the speak German. Well, the picture alters a bit when you know that the three common languages of communication in the European Union are…wait for it…English, French, and German.
This altered use of the truth really wears thin.
Keep up the good work.
— Bill Peters
MISSED THE BUS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Paging Dr. Smith:
With all respect to Mr. Tyrrell, there is a simple reason that so-called conservative politicians aren’t really jumping in to debate the health-care problem. There are no more truly conservative politicians. Although Mr. Hillyer points out several more conservative politicians in You Can Go Home Again, I would respectfully disagree that these men and women are actually conservative.
There’s one very simple reason why conservative ideals are falling out of favor. Because even the conservative movement isn’t being entirely honest. More importantly, ‘conservative’ politicians are not arguing for and advancing conservative ideals and policies. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the important debate.
The fact is, we lost the real debate. The debate shouldn’t be how government power should be applied. Or by what “side,” right or left, the government should be controlled. The debate should be about the proper role of government and the proper amount of governmental power. We lost this debate around the time we accepted that we live in a democracy (how many “conservative” commentators talk about the American Republic?) and that we, the people, have constitutional rights. Thankfully, the Spectator is still running articles that point out that the Bill of Rights didn’t create rights but acknowledged them, I’m still not seeing any that make the point that the term “constitutional right” should apply only to government power. How easy is it for government power advocates (also called “liberals”) when even their “conservative” counterparts don’t really challenge them on the central purpose of government?
I do fear that state run health care in the US is inevitable. Not because the people really want it, but because conservatives won’t stand up and start making the arguments we need to be making. We need a unified effort to change the whole debate, not just aspects of it. We need to start talking about the purpose of government overall, not just its roll in this or that.
— Charles Campbell
It is not enough to complain about long lines, poor services, etc. when arguing health care. Doctors are at the top of the “fix it” group, they won’t give up this position, no matter how hard the insurance industry works to dislodge them as they try to take more control.
And what does Mr. Insurance Man do when his back is up against the wall? He asks Mr. Government Man to come in and be the final “deep pocket” in the game of loss/protection.
State run liquor stores have not stopped those from becoming constant drunks; what makes you think state run health care will achieve any of its objectives?
Anyone remember those four corner gas stations who would from time to time have “gas wars” where we all got some cheaper gas? What would it be like to have four clinics at an intersection offering entry level healthcare?
Why has the American entrepreneur been locked up relative to health care? Same thing with energy. Heard of any new medical schools being built and opened for students?
It’s time to be American, and being American is tackling a problem with everything we’ve got! The “Can do spirit” is as American as apple pie, right…right!
Will do? Well, that’s another question, isn’t’ it?
— R. Philips
Corrales, New Mexico
A NIGHTMARE, THAT’S WHAT
Re: James M. Thunder’s What Happened in Richmond?:
Mr. Herring believes if a person, or at least a minor, let’s assume he is not sexist and the minor can be male or female, is “hell bent” on breaking an existing law, enforcing the law becomes optional: the minor “is going to do it either way.” Mr. Herring is clearly implying determination and safety trump Virginian law. This raises the question, when is a minor most likely to be safe while taking determined action?
A minor is most likely to be safer in an adult supervised environment than in an unsupervised one. (Evidence of this is abundant and can easily be produced.) In extending logically extending Mr. Herring’s argument, the following extrapolation can be made: since a determined minor will take action and safety is paramount, then a minor is better served by taking action under adult supervision, where safety is more readily assured. If said minors want to partake in the use of substances prohibited to them, such as drugs and alcohol, and they are determined to do so, stopping them is not an option. This being established, logic dictates, the minors are safer if they use drugs and alcohol in an adult supervised atmosphere rather than an unsupervised one; therefore, laws such as prohibiting the endangerment of the health and morals of a minor are to be disregarded and not enforced, or certainly optionally enforced.
Other laws that prohibit behaviors that minors are “hell bent” to break will also have to be waived as long as the minors break the laws safely. While this argument seems illogical and certainly fatuous, even deserving applause by the Queen of Hearts, it is not. The argument follows the natural entailments of an asinine statement of policy. A minor’s safety is an important issue but it is not the ultimate, penultimate or central issue. The central issue is the law. Is Mr. Herring willing to enforce the laws of Virginia and are its citizenry to be held responsible for their actions? Mr. Herring draws his pay because these very citizens employ him to enforce the law. If an employee is determined not to fulfill his duties, it is logical to dismiss said employee. To keep his job, the prosecutor is offering vapid statements that he hopes will distract all who are concerned with the moral and legal issues of allowing a 16-year-old girl, who is a ward of our federal government, to undergo an abortion procedure with the foreknowledge of an agency affiliated with the Catholic Diocese and a Catholic bishop’s tacit approval; he is offering a confused argument to the people he serves so they will not notice his office’s inaction. Thanks to Mr. Thunder, few will be willing to chase that red herring.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
Perhaps it’s just me, but I find the vocabulary of the abortion debate incredibly one-sided. “Pro life vs. “pro choice?” Spare me. The only “choice” the pro choice side promotes is the termination of a pregnancy, even by a minor without parental permission or notification.
“Anti-abortion” and “pro-abortion” is a far more accurate description of the opposing viewpoints — which is why the choice crowd scrupulously avoids the direct comparison.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Why are we getting involved in providing services of any kind to a Guatemalan child? If her parents abandoned her here we need to send her back to Guatemala. Guatemalan social services can then locate her relatives and they can provide for her needs. Taxpayers should not be paying for abortions and they certainly should not be paying for abortions for non-citizens.
Re: Quin Hillyer’s You Can Go Home Again:
One is struck by the homespun structure of Mr. Hillyer’s after dinner homily, and also the predictability of his conclusions. He begins with an anecdote involving someone well known by his audience, throws in an unpleasant situation that should have been remedied by an unresponsive government, and for humor adds a dead possum. There’s nothing quite like a dead possum joke. (But one must wonder why, if Mr. Hillyer believes in the private citizen, and has only small faith in government, he didn’t, during those three days of unbearable stench, get off his dead backside and scrape the carrion off the pavement himself.)
Then, as a glut of mosquitoes follows a wet spring, Hillyer lurches into a hymn about the sad status and future prospects of American conservatives. Things are bleak. But, bad as they may be, they can be salvaged by voting for John McCain, the thinking man’s friend, democracy’s last hope.
McCain opposed Bush’s judicial appointments, which he alleged were “too conservative.” He is said to have worked to obtain bottom place on a Democrat ticket headed by John Kerry (which pretty well neutralizes the assertion that “McCain may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.)” And he’s doing his best to insure that our southern border provides all the protection of a lace nightgown. But, trust me, he’s our man.
Mr. Hillyer assures us that a judiciary appointed by McCain might well be “no worse than the annoying Sandra Day O’Connor or Anthony Kennedy…” You all remember Kennedy and O’Connor from all the shocks they have worked upon the republic in the form of a long string of 5 to 4 decisions. Big John’s judges will be no worse than they are, probably. But it’s hard to tell since John has so many “flinty, Goldwaterite proclivities.” You gotta admire those flinty proclivities.
It seems the times demand a man who may, if he can and is so inclined, provide a besieged America with a presidency that will deliver a “net result… no worse than, and maybe a little better than, a holding pattern.” And not only that, but he will be better than LBJ, Nixon and Jimmy Carter! And no doubt far more committed to individual liberty than Iron Felix Dzerzhinsky.
All of us now wonder if the stakes are too high to waste a vote, when, correctly applied, that vote could help keep Obama out of the White House. And it may well be time to beg conservatives of every stripe to hold their noses and vote for McCain.
But there is another scenario possible. This election may well turn out to be something like the one in1972, in which many committed Democrats voted for Nixon because McGovern was such an obvious dud. But in the wake of those votes, many of them felt obliged to vote straight Democrat in every other race, from U.S. Senate to township trustee. That meant Nixon took office with a Congress dedicated to frustrating him at every turn.
Maybe we should vote Libertarian, or American, or Vegetarian, in order to demonstrate to the GOP that we can’t be taken for granted, and to get a good start on the veto-proof Congress the electorate will provide after two years of Obama.
In any event, let me make it known that more than a few of the people who respect TAS are offended when presented with a golly-gee-whiz after supper speech as if it were honest analysis rather than a condescending sop built to humor those who hear and read it. And if your intent is to evangelize for McCain, do better. All you’ve done is damn him with the very faintest of praise.
— “Edmund Dantes”
Quin Hillyer replies:
I am sorry that Mr. Dantes did not like my speech. My only response is that in my mind, comparing somebody to Barry Goldwater is not the faintest of praise, but the highest of praise.
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder’s Such a Fine Mismating:
Recently my sweet mother-in-law, Dorothy, passed away. She was 88 and very dear to her children and children-in-laws. She divorced my husband’s father when the children were quite small. As long as she lived I never heard my mother-in-law ever say one bad thing about the father of her children.
One time, late one evening while she and I drove as we were moving from one military post to another, I asked her why they divorced and why I never heard her say anything ill of this man.
I will never forget her response and it ought to be the counsel to many. She said this: “I believed that I should never speak ill of the father of my children for two reasons. First, I would never want the world to know I had made a decision that was ill advised as this speaks of my ability to make a sound judgment of character. Secondly, and even more importantly, I want my children to know that their father was a good man. It gives them a standard to hold for the rest of their lives.”
My mother-in-law went to her grave never having spoken ill or disparaging of her husband. She never took divorce lightly and only remarried when in her late seventies.
I believe the counsel I would give couples that are splitting up and divorcing would be that which my mother-in-law adhered to. I am sure there are contentious reasons in many divorces, but I don’t think it serves anyone to air them publicly and to allow children to hear the details that they most surely could do without hearing. Divorce if you must but use wise counsel about what you say as your spouse will always be the parent of your children.
— Bev Gunn
Re: Erin Wildermuth’s Money Won’t Cure Global Poverty:
Don’t your columnists read their own columns? After seven paragraphs on how government redistribution of assets from the West to Africa has been a failure, Erin Wildermuth turns 180 degrees, lamenting that it is “illegal for many countries to produce cheap copies of expensive drugs. Not good for countries that are fighting a losing battle with AIDS and malaria.”
Au contraire, Erin. It is excellent news for everybody when developers of expensive drugs are able to profit from their labors. That is what keeps the pharmacy labs cranking out their miracles. Intellectual property is as much an asset as real estate or gold, so why shouldn’t it be illegal to steal it? Why should the scientists who develop new medicines be expected to work for free? When you start confiscating expensively-developed technologies from their inventors and handing them to third parties to copy cheaply, you guarantee that no new technologies are ever developed. One might say this is “not good for countries fighting losing battles with AIDS and malaria.”
— Jim Bono
The only possible effective foreign aid is now clearly known to be the building of commercial cultural infrastructure: Laws, courts, police forces, land titles systems, etc, etc.
This all looks like the British Raj. It will never be accepted by Lefties or the current corrupt ruling classes of the third world.
The Brits knew this 150 years ago. Are we stupider today? Yes, we are.
— Fred Zinkhofer
Perhaps somebody had best inform Barack Obama — sponsor of S.2433, “The Global Poverty Act of 2007” — that his plan to relieve U.S. taxpayers of about $850 billion over the next decade or so will only ensure that a global version of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society failure will bankrupt us all — and spread fiscal failure of our War on Poverty to all nations?
— C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
FROM ONE BETTOR TO ANOTHER
Re: Diane Smith’s letter (under “A Politician in Full”) in Reader Mail’s Insider Outsider:
Diane Smith’s letter was a hoot — and, I couldn’t help but think of another track, in Phoenix, where the greyhounds run. And ran.
Back, a few years ago, it was Diane’s reference to “early foot” which seemed to work, and verrrry profitably: 87% of the time, the greyhound “on top” (first) in the first turn was in the quinela. The payoffs were pretty decent then too.
Yea, verily even — you could make good, money, IF you went with the consistent early-speed dogs; they usually went off at ridiculously high odds too; the public liked the “closers.” And the public was usually wrong. Used to say, “go with the early speed and pray for trouble,” and then counted our winnings. Doesn’t work at other tracks, but I’d wager that it’s still a profitable betting tool at Phoenix Greyhound Park — same track and surface.
FROM THE PULPIT
Re: Reader letters under “Nobody’s Judgin'” in Reader Mail’s The Insider Outsider:
In response to a few letters in TAS, I wrote that we should caution ourselves in taking up the question of Obama’s relationship with true Christianity. Citing one of Christ’s parables, the point was made that we should not pick out false followers from the body of Christ because of the risk that some true followers may be picked out along with them.
Mr. Edwards objected that he was not “making judgments on the state of Obama’s soul but on his words.” He then proceeds to do what he protests he is not doing.
I think it would be perfectly fine to point out that Obama speaks in the mistaken notion that Christianity is but one of many ways to Heaven. Indeed, nothing I have read indicates Obama understands Acts 4.12 (“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”) not to mention St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
But then Mr. Edwards goes on to say “…I will say that in my mind Obama is no more a Christian than Osama” and “Based on just that information alone, I have no problem in saying that Obama is not a follower of the Christ, but is adhering to and preaching what Paul called ‘another Gospel'”
I am puzzled how this is not making judgments on the state of Obama’s soul along with his words. It occurs to me that there may be some “denominational theology” at work that it is not immediately obvious; but may place the distinction along different lines than I was taught. Maybe? All I can do put up the same caution.
There are all sorts of Christians in the world running around not getting their Christology right. Most Christians are not theologians nor do they have a profound knowledge of the Scriptures. Indeed, even friends who attend the same parish as I do are capable of making statements containing several different contradictory notions and they are serenely unaware they are doing so. This is a deplorable state of affairs; but there we are.
Ninety percent of all Protestants totally misunderstand Luther’s “Justified by grace alone.” They get it exactly backwards and even while most Protestant Churches preach Justification by Faith they are positively allergic to what it actually means. While these are seriously mistaken, it does not preclude their salvation. The Lord’s saving love comes to pass despite how confused we may be.
Note: I am not advocating the “many roads to God.” It is just that what a person has been led to believe and speak intellectually does not necessarily reveal how their heart is really disposed nor where they will go to find refuge in times of trouble. Many unbelievers become young Christians and then spend the rest of their lives unlearning the errors they had been taught during the time they were lost.
Point out the error. Let the Lord choose those who hear His voice.
— Mike Dooley
Re: Wil’s letter (under “Hard to Swallow”) in Reader Mail’s Insider Outsider:
A note to Wil regarding his Scrud rant: I like Bud.
“Back in the day” in the day when I first drank beer, those Euro-pilsners were a.) very expensive (that was a marketing choice by their managers; in B school I believe it’s called “skimming”); and b.) there weren’t the choices in the beer aisle that there is today.
Still, I like Bud. It brings back memories of that last grad school exam and, we are talking the 70’s here, the girlfriend (a Miller drinker, BTW) who, on hot summer days, would fashion a top from a pair of colored handkerchiefs as we sat by a river…
I am glad Wil has his array of reasonably priced choices. Me? I like Bud…and the memories that come with it.
— Reid Bogie