VIEWS FROM THE PEANUT GALLERY
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Ruinous in Retirement:
Hey, let’s not be too hard on Jimmy Carter. After all, he did in four short years what might have taken decades without him — convince the America public that, illegal wiretapping aside, Richard Nixon was a pretty darn good president.
— Ward Weber II
West Jefferson, Ohio
Excellent article as always. I hope if Jimmy Carter (who by the way is the reason I left the Democrats in 1980), leads to McCain’s election, he will indeed continue to be “the gift that keeps on giving”.
I’ll never forget how after “Desert One”, I was lectured by a German. He told me how weak America was and how we were not respected (sounds like today). I said to him that in November, 1980 he would see a change.
Hopefully the creep will go back to Plains and farm some peanuts. Once he opens his mouth all hell breaks loose.
— Howard Goldstein
Wouldn’t it be great if upon return to the USA , the state department pulled Jimmy Carter’s passport? It would thrill me to see that done and I believe that it would be seen by many Americans in the same way. Just yank it and let him sue to get it back!
— Gene Hauber
I’ll break my policy of not responding from my workplace to express my disgust as the Georgia Goof betrays his country again. It was H. L. Mencken who observed that ex-presidents should be hung in the interests of public sanitation. He must have had his Swami-hat on when he wrote that, peering down through the years to behold the Carter Manure Spreader in action. It seems to me that Jimmy should be invited to stay over there and not come back here…
— W. G. Wheatley
RET, I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room a few years ago, and the TV was blaring Oprah. Melissa Ethridge and Dolly Parton, obviously two experts on the subject (Ethridge is a lesbian), were discussing gay marriage with Oprah. Parton, asked if she was in favor of said couplings, responded charmingly by saying something on the order of, “. . . sure, why shouldn’t they have to put up with the same crap everybody else does.”
Now, there’s logic in there somewhere (remember Reagan’s pony joke?), but what does this have to do with Jimmy “Mr. JC” (hmm, maybe that’s where the problem lies) Carter? I’ll take the last sentence in your piece. “A failure as a president, Jimmy is appraised as a useful tool by our enemies.” Maybe, they will realize what a pain he is, and the honeymoon will be over. Let the headaches in Hamas begin.
— Mike Showalter
Americans and the world apparently, have very short memories of former President Carter’s failed Mideast policies during his tenure as president. This is the very same man who threw the Shah of Iran a long-time loyal ally of the United States, under the bus of terrorism. President Carter’s policies are directly responsible for allowing the explosive growth of terrorist states as Iran, Syria and these states proxies of Hamas.
As if President Carter hasn’t meddled enough in a sitting president’s foreign policy, the peanut farmer is now going to become the laughing stock of the Mideast and the civilized world with his misguided dreams of rewriting his failed legacy.
Iran has portrayed President Carter as a bumbling inept president once; now it appears that Iran is going to do so again. Some people are just gluttons for punishment, I guess.
— Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina
It’s become a rite of passage from winter to the balmier months. Every year just about this time former President Jimmy Carter says or does something to embarrass the U.S. This year he’s on spring break in the Middle East, lending credibility to the terrorist organization Hamas.
Last year he launched a tirade against President Bush, stating that the Bush administration was the worst in history in international relations. In the same interview he excoriated British Prime Minister Tony Blair for supporting President Bush. “Abominable, loyal, blind, apparently subservient” were the terms he applied to Blair.
In 2004 he assailed Bush and Blair for “waging an unnecessary war in Iraq based on lies and misinterpretations.”
Skipping back a few years, Carter actually seemed to believe we were meddling in the internal affairs of the former Soviet Union when, during an appearance in Berlin, President Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
I spent many years as a federal employee and had first hand experience with Jimmy Carter’s style. Overall, he tried to run the federal government as if it were a county courthouse in rural Georgia. Worse, he surrounded himself with fellow amateurs.
He and his cohorts emasculated the IRS’s criminal investigation division and the IRS’ tax collection efforts. “Intelligence Division” seemed too sinister a term so it was renamed the Criminal Investigation Division. Automatic part payment agreements were offered to all first time tax delinquents. This was a decision that flew in the face of the part payment characteristics of the income tax withholding system. The result? Federal tax delinquencies soared.
And he abolished 900 covert positions in the CIA. The impact of this crippling move would last for years.
Saving the most ludicrous for last, he turned off the hot water in all Federal building washrooms to “save energy.”
Jimmy Carter was America’s first amateur President. Since “retiring” he’s done nothing to jeopardize his amateur standing.
— Stan Welli
Jimmy Carter’s lousy legacy continues to haunt us after more that three decades, especially in the area of energy independence. His head-in-the-sand nuclear energy polices helped decimate the entire industry by barring plutonium recycling in light water reactors. At the time of his administration, the United States was the world’s leader in nuclear power including plutonium recycling. Now, we are importing twice as much oil and are also dependant on nuclear technology from foreign sources.
— Tom Bullock
West Covina, California
Well said Mr. Tyrrell, but in some ways isn’t it good to have this living, walking, breathing example of a Democratic President directly in front of us? What a great example of what the American people get when they buy into the obfuscation handed out by Democrat candidates. Bill Clinton has helped on that front as well it seems as he has campaigned for his lovely wife Bruno, as I believe you call her. In a perfect world they could both be in a jar but I think the example they set can be useful for many Americans as we approach election day.
— Roger Ross
For a Christian in these perhaps last days one tends to see the Anti-Christ everywhere from the Rev. Wright to Hillary, but maybe Carter is the real deal. He certainly fooled many good and faithful Christians when he went around the nation meeting with churches prior to his successful run against poor Jerry Ford who deserved better as we all did. What we got was a far left phony every bit as radical as Obama is sure to be. As I say quite often these days “it is worse than it has ever been” and Lord help us all.
— Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan
When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, Jimmy Carter’s response was to not let our athletes go to the Russian Olympics. I’m sure that shook the Russians up.
— Fred Edwards
Re: George Neumayr’s Christ Our Hope:
Excellent article by Mr. Neumayr. He has nailed the connection that many refuse to see. The more the Church attempts to accommodate “popular” positions, the less “popular” it will become. Just look at many of the dying parishes. They offer the “Church of What’s Happening Now” to ever dwindling congregations. Those that offer the Eternal Church which unapologetically preach the Eternal Truths are thriving. And there is no connection?
— James Siegler
While it is tempting to believe that the major source of the problems that exist within the Church today are more likely found amongst Catholics than the Protestant denominations, the fact is that any possible solution to those problems — of which there are many — will only come through the exertions of those within the Church, not those outside it. George Bush, a Methodist, may be more theologically and spiritually attuned to the Ponitifex Maximus than Pelosi/Kennedy/Leahy/Kerry, but, although he is not part of the problem, the president is also not part of the solution. The visit of Pope Benedict XVI will, I pray, identify those problems. and point to solutions.
Realistically, the pope should begin in addressing the priestly scandals in which more than one billion dollars in damages have already been awarded. Yet, to counter the growing image of priestly depravity, critics of the critics of the Church started a chess game in which the proven assertion that significant numbers of the Catholic priesthood were dysfunctional was checked by the statistical assertion that teachers and other religious were, proportionally, equally guilty of “sexual abuse.” I have never quite understood that analogy, for the nature of the Catholic priesthood is to be an “alter Christus,” unlike a clergyman from Protestant churches, or your high school teacher. The pope indicated his deep concern about this issue before he even arrived on these shores, and, by so doing, at least has publicly recognized the situation, something that was never directly addressed in the previous pontificate. Another problem needing attention is the revamping of the criteria regarding those who qualify for clerical vocations. Benedict XVI has said that “pedophiles” have no place within the Catholic clergy, but will he take the next step? Homosexuality is considered a “disorder” within the Church; does the pope, then, believe that pedophilia and the disorder of homosexuality are not twinned, and if so, will he take appropriate action to prevent the further decline of the church?
Equally important is the decline of Catholic religious education. Foremost in that cataclysmic retrogression is the failure of the schools organized and administered by the Society of Jesus, aka “Jesuits,” where the “dictatorship of relativism” not only reigns, but thrives. The pontiff is more than vaguely aware of this problem: in January of this year, addressing the Jesuits 35th General Congregation at their conference in Rome, he called upon the order to return to its earlier and orthodox ways:
And, really, so as to offer the entire Society of Jesus a clear orientation which might be a support for generous and faithful apostolic dedication, it would prove extremely useful that the General Congregation reaffirm, in the spirit of St. Ignatius, its own adhesion to Catholic doctrine… [emphasis mine].
Today, the pope is 81 years old, and, like the presidency of the U.S., the demands of the papacy age the person in office very quickly. But I believe that Pope Benedict XVI sees it as his destiny to play a pivotal role in returning the Church to responsible episcopal and priestly authority, clerical responsibility, and a sense amongst the faithful that the Church has returned to its roots. It is a formidable task, to which my only wish is: God speed.
— Vincent Chiarello
For anyone who believes (or is open to non-belief but the ultimate truth of logic), please read works by St. Augustine, such as The City of God, Moses Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed or Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics. After reading them, if one can still say that reason and faith are mutually contradictory, that person makes a mockery of what he calls god, reason itself.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
FOOD FOR VOTES
Re: Philip Klein’s Stuttering Democrats:
Both of these candidates are obvious lightweights to those Americans who still believe in capitalism and a strong national security posture. Is that the majority of the American electorate — or does the “free lunch crowd” finally take control?
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Mr. Klein has submitted a good column on Hillary and Barack from the standpoint of the general election. Unfortunately, they are in the process of arguing with each other in an effort to influence the Democrat base that votes in primaries. So the question arises, did the general confusion, duplicity, and ignorance exhibited on stage matter? Perhaps, at the margins. Not, I suspect, in significant numerical terms. I suspect that the vote has been decided, within plus or minus 3 – 4 points for a couple of weeks now. In my view, the fact that the polls shift significantly means nothing. People will tell the pollsters what they want to hear, or what the people think that the societal elite want to hear. We have known that for ages now. The Obama supporters are locked in, and he can say and do almost anything without effecting their voting behavior significantly. Hillary’s supporters are locked in in spite of what she says and does. She is NOT an unknown quantity to folks that go out and vote in Democrat primaries, or any of the rest of us really.
As for whether they are beatable, sure they are. Almost any good, honorable, articulate conservative, Republican could beat them, I believe. Heck, I even believe that someone from the Democrat Auxiliary party, like John McCain, can probably beat them. The Democrats have demonstrated, in my opinion, that they are absolutely determined to snatch defeat from the certain jaws of victory in this election cycle. I can think of a half a dozen loyal Democrat elected officials that would be dead bang, sure fire winners, but the Democrat activists, leaders, and loyal sheep are determined not to allow any of those type of Democrats anywhere near the convention, much less on the POTUS ballot.
— Ken Shreve
“Meanwhile, Obama declared that because Wright served as a Marine, ‘I believe that he loves this country.’ I’d wager that most Americans who listened to Wright shout, ‘God damn America’ would come to a different conclusion.”
Just one question Phil: Have you served your country?
— Erik von Gohren
“It may very well be that with an unpopular incumbent president in office, a controversial war, and an uncertain economy, the deck is just too stacked against Republicans this election year for them to retake the White House.”
After an excellent analysis of the debate, you choose to end on this pessimistic note. Just what we need, a domestic politics “surrender monkey.”
— Harold Weinstein
Re: Quin Hillyer’s Symptoms of a Larger Democratic Illness:
In the last seven-plus years of distortion, giving aid and comfort to our enemies, and all attempts to undermine our military and the president, Democrats have bristled when anyone dares to question
their patriotism. Well I question it. Patriots don’t put our troops in further danger just to score cheap political points.
Only liberal Democrats do. And they aren’t “ill,” as Mr. Hillyer would like us to believe — unless you consider cowardice, calculation, and contemptibility to be illnesses.
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Re: Peter Suderman’s Legacy of a Lame Duck:
A “lame duck” that’s looking more like “duck and cover,” Mr. Suderman. William F. Buckley isn’t even cold in his grave, and already it seems Whittaker Chambers had it right after all. We lose.
— Mike Showalter
“Global warming science has progressed far enough that it’s entirely reasonable to assert than human activity is responsible for much of climate change.” So states Peter Suderman. That about killed your whole article. You have made an assertion that is not valid and you expect the rest of your article to be valid also.
Yes, Bush is waffling on “climate change.” That’s his legacy, waffling, when he should be leading. He waffled on domestic policy, waffled on the Iraq occupation, waffled on his judicial appointments. Now he ‘s waffling on the worst issue there is. You are right whoever his replacement will be (and it looks like McCain) will be just as bad on the GW issue but politics is not scientific research and the research will show all those GW proponents to be wrong. It looks like we are merely holding on until a better candidate comes forward in 2012, because there are none right now.
— Pete Chagnon
“Legacy of a Lame Duck” by Peter Suderman only begins to address the issue. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry predicts that an 11 percent CO2 reduction over the next 10 years will cost their economy $500 billion. This is the proportional equivalent of 12 million US jobs over a thoroughly unproven theory.
But the ruinous effects of environmentalism started decades ago. Just go to any small town in America and see how environmentalists install themselves on planning boards and conservation commissions and gratuitously thwart economic development in myriad ways. Here in New England, the problem is acute with its proximity to elite academia. In Oregon, 30,000 loggers lost their jobs over the phony “spotted owl” controversy.
Americans need to stop idealizing nature and to start thinking rationally about nuclear power and other forms of baseload energy development. By the way, nuclear will eliminate these so-called “greenhouse gas” emissions but most ecologists will never admit it.
If we don’t start dealing in real-world ideas, we all will end up in the poorhouse, which is where radical environmentalism is taking us.
YOU DON’T KNOW NOTHING
Re: Joe Baxter’s letter (under “Two Thumbs Down”) in Reader Mail’s Life’s Disappointments:
“How can they sell conservative values to people after showing such colossal ignorance?”
Oh, come now, Mr. Baxter. Let’s stipulate that Limbaugh, Coulter, and Stein are “ignorant,” your question implies a presumption that goes against common observation. People of Olympian ignorance have sold all sorts of “values” since remembered history and most likely before. Have conservatives failed to acquire this facility during the evolution of our kind?
Mr. Baxter’s letter also illustrates one of the central pitfalls one often finds in many discussions about evolution. There are two “modes” found among writers who defend evolution: 1.) evolution as a theory of science or 2.) evolution as metaphysics. Most of the popular defenders of evolution (and not a few of the academics) switch back and forth between the two. When cornered after overextending evolution as a lance against superstition (religion), these defenders resort to the “nobody but us chickens in here” defense. “What? We’re just discussing the observations of science. We’re not saying anything about what you believe outside the discipline.”
When discussed as a theory of change, evolution is quite reasonable. As science, it does have two problems that haven’t been addressed to the satisfaction of some — either because defenders can’t or they lack the interest. The first is the issue upon whether the theory is open to falsification. Can the theory be put in doubt by contrary evidence or is it so circular that it will explain anything? The second charges one of the insights of evolution to be a tautology. “Survival of the fittest.” Is it always true that it is the “fittest” that survive or is it sometimes we think that “X” is the fittest merely because it survived? Be that as it may, these are questions of logic and are separate from the main objections to the use of “evolution” in the nonacademic forum.
Only a few are interested whether men and women evolved to their present form or whether Adam and Eve actually existed. What disturbs many is that evolution is often deemed the guide to questions outside of science itself. There is a constellation of issues that can be grouped into three categories. 1.) How shall we organize ourselves as a society? 2.) What values aught we have? 3.) What cosmology should we believe and use as a guide for 1 and 2.
All these come down to one ultimate concern. Is radical materialism being advanced under the flag of evolution? More to the point are we and everything is the universe a product of necessity and chance? Or are we created by a loving and just God? Is there only the “natural” or is there also the “supernatural.” Many if not most defenders of evolution slip and presume to answer these questions based on the accepted reality of evolution.
However illogical the connection may be, historically evolution has been used as a basis for the eugenics movement and “social Darwinism.” If thousand of deaths and sins can be laid at the doorstep of monotheism (principally Christianity and Islam), then the blood of millions paint the door of “evolution.” This is a fact we all need to grapple with.
— Mike Dooley
P.S. The Irish are taking over the world. Stand down and prepared to be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
The writer Joe Baxter criticizes Ben Stein, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh for their “colossal ignorance” in their views on evolution as defined by Darwin. He does not care to defend the theory of the creation of the first living cell out of that “primordial soup,” but is a strong believer in evolution. He is right in not defending the spontaneous creation of life since, given the size of cosmos (10 to the power of 80, approximately) and its age (some 16 billion of years since the “Big Bang”), it is mathematically impossible to have happened by chance. He is, however, a strong believer in evolution, which in his view is irrefutable.
The Darwinian Theory of Evolution is based on the fact of “spontaneous mutations” within a given specie. Some of these sponateous mutations within a given specie are better suited to survive than the original, and so we arrive to the theory of “the survival of the fittest” — i.e. this particular mutation survived because it was the fittest. This theory can as well be stated as follows: this particular mutation was the fittest because it survived. And that, Mr. Baxter, is against one of the principal theories of logic — circular reasoning — as explained already by Aristotle centuries ago. In other words, Ben, Ann, and Rush are definitely not all as “colossally ignorant” as you believe them to be.
— Marc Jeric
Las Vegas, Nevada
EGGS BENEDYKT ON OUR FACE
Re: G. Tracy Mehan, III’s 21 Guns for Benedict XVI
Who is Benedykt XVII, I never heard of this Pope, nor of the other 16 by that name? Is he one of those bitter, gun loving, religious people that Barack Obama warned about?
— Christopher Holland